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Gay Tory Ex-Deputy Mayor of London defects to UKIP

September 30, 2014

Former Deputy Mayor of London Richard Barnes has defected from the Tories to UKIP.

The gay politician, who served as Deputy Mayor between 2008 and 2012, dismissed claims UKIP were a homophobic party.

In a reference to the views of ex-UKIP councillor David Silvester – who famously blamed flooding on David Cameron’s decision to legalise same-sex marriage, Mr Barnes told the London Evening Standard: “I’ll stand my ground against any prat. They are in all the parties. I don’t think they become homophobic the moment they join UKIP.”

Explaining his decision to defect, Mr Barnes said the Tories, Labour and Lib Dems did not “speak the language of normal people”.

He argued UKIP was the only party with the right answers on leaving the EU, sorting out immigration and taking a strong position on HS2 and Heathrow expansion.

It’s understood Mr Barnes’ Conservative Party membership lapsed in February. UKIP leader Nigel Farage has welcomed the defection.

Mr Barnes was the London Assembly Member for Ealing and Hillingdon from 2000 to 2012 and is a former Hillingdon councillor.

Appointed by the incumbent Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, as the statutory Deputy Mayor for London in 2008, he served in post until losing his seat on the London Assembly in May 2012.

Yesterday, at the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham, Boris Johnson warned against disgruntled Tories defecting to UKIP.

Mr Barnes was left red-faced last September after a series of naked images were uploaded to his Facebook profile.

The account showed photographs of the lower half of the naked body of a man holding a smartphone.

Although the images were quickly deleted – they still made their way to the Trending Central website.

The politician claimed he had been a victim of social media hacking.

At the time, Mr Barnes told PinkNews.co.uk: “I have been hacked into. I would not post anything like that, I’m far too experienced in politics to do this.”

In an interview with Metro Online, Mr Barnes added: “Do you really think I would be that f*cking stupid after 30 years in politics?”

In 2012, Mr Barnes dismissed former Labour Mayor Ken Livingstone as a “retread” and a “pensioner” in an interview with PinkNews.

Mr Barnes was previously accused of making a racist joke in 2011.

More: Boris Johnson, Deputy Mayor, England, gay tory, London, London, Mayor of London, richard barnes, uk independence party, UKIP

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