Bisexual ex-Liberal Democrat deputy leader Sir Simon Hughes reported to police by Labour’s Neil Coyle
One of the UK’s most prominent LGBT politicians has been reported to police over election ‘lies’.
Sir Simon Hughes, the former deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats, has been reported by his Labour rival after printing ‘lies’ on official election material.
Sir Simon, who refused to vote for same-sex marriage while an MP, lost the constituency he represented for 32 years, Bermondsey and Old Southwark in south London, to Labour’s Neil Coyle two years ago.
Now the two are going head-to-head again in June’s snap election and the battle has turned nasty.
The Lib Dem ex-MP has sent fliers to local residents – designed to look like genuine newspaper articles – claiming Mr Coyle is being investigated for abusing Labour party staff.
The Labour candidate asked his rival to stop printing the false claims last week, but they refused.
Mr Coyle has now been called in the police to investigate.
He told The Sun: “Hughes ran a nasty campaign to get elected in ‘83 and thinks he can do it again but people aren’t buying Lib Dem lies.
“Simon Hughes and the Lib Dems broke their promises and really let people down by voting for the Bedroom Tax, higher tuition fees and less money for affordable homes in the Coalition.
“I’ll keep telling the truth about Lib Dems but I’ve had to take legal action to get them to stop telling lies about me.”
In 1983, the Lib Dem won the constituency against LGBT rights activist Peter Tatchell, telling voter he was the “straight choice”.
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A Lib Dem spokesperson told PinkNews: “Given the positive response we have been getting on the doorsteps, it’s no surprise that Neil Coyle has pressed the panic button.
“It will be down to local people to judge who they want as their MP on the 8th June.”
While an MP, he abstained on the same-sex marriage vote, saying he thought marriage was “gender complimentary”, and that it should be between straight couples only.
“I believe that marriage is ordained by God. I believe it is traditionally ordained by God as between one man and one woman”, he said.
Sir Simon was first elected amid the most homophobic election campaign in British history, against against then Labour candidate Tatchell.
Election leaflets labelled the Lib Dem the “straight choice”, a slur on his rival, who would have been the first openly gay person elected at the time.
He went on to apologise for the campaign, and wrote of being “proud” to represent Mr Tatchell in parliament.