UKIP trying to ‘block’ gay candidate from running for Mayor of London?
The UK Independence Party has been accused of attempting to ‘block’ a bid by an openly gay candidate to run for Mayor of London.
Mr Hendron, a barrister and former police officer, stood for Parliament in Brentford and Isleworth in May – and is not afraid to criticise his own party.
Earlier this year he warned that the party is perceived as “overflowing with homophobes, racist and bigots” – adding that Nigel Farage’s remarks about HIV during the election were “indefensible” and “did no one any favours”.
However, sources within UKIP report that Mr Hendron’s bid to enter the contest will be blocked, with those loyal to party leader Nigel Farage closing ranks on the outsider due to his criticism.
Leaks inside the party suggest that campaigners are working to ensure that Mr Hendron is not selected as the party’s candidate.
Iain Dale of ConservativeHome confirmed: “I’ve been leaked information that everything is being done to prevent Richard Hendron being selected. Apparently he’s put many a UKIP nose out of joint after promoting UKIP’s presence at the Pride march, and making a controversial speech at the Young Independents conference.
“Since then, I’m reliably informed that senior UKIP officials are actively seeking to influence the selection process not only for the Mayoralty but for the London assembly too. They are tabling a motion at the London Regional committee that if Hendron is selected branches should refuse to campaign for him. How very libertarian of them.”
Right-wing news outlet Breitbart recently put criticism to Mr Hendron that he is “more an LGBT activist than a UKIP activist”.
He responded: “I have championed and pushed LGBT issues more than anyone else within UKIP, standing up to the party on a number of occasions, but this has been to the benefit of both UKIP and the LGBT community.
“There is a disconnect between what our values are and what people perceive them to be. I again reiterate that we must address this perception.”
Mr Hendron is facing competition from figures including Suzanne Evans – who was UKIP’s de facto leader for three days in May during Nigel Farage’s brief resignation.
A second gay UKIP politician, culture spokesman Peter Whittle, is also said to be in the running.