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Tuesday, 7 December, 1999, 14:49 GMT
Gorman banned from Tory mayor race
Gorman Teresa Gorman: "Disappointed" by rejection

The outspoken Tory MP Teresa Gorman has been rejected as a potential Conservative candidate for mayor of London.

The announcement came less than 24 hours after the right-wing MP made a late entry into race in protest to frontrunner Steven Norris's stance on gay rights.

The Conservative Party confirmed on Tuesday that Mrs Gorman had not made it on to the list of nine Conservative who will be allowed to stand in the internal vote to become its candidate for London mayor.

Party officials refused to comment on the reasons for her rejection.

Tory mayor contenders
Steven Norris
Andrew Boff
Bernard Gentry
Patrick Ground QC
Baroness Hanham
Mark Kotecha
Paul Lynch
Baroness Miller of Hendon
John Wilkinson MP
But a Tory spokesman said that the 25 members of the selection executive had been unanimous in their decision to veto Mrs Gorman and two other mayoral hopefuls.

Mrs Gorman - who at one time temporarily lost the party whip because of her Eurosceptic views - denied that she had been deemed too controversial.

"I have got a spark of individuality I suppose and a mind of my own. I say what I mean and I mean what I say. It depends what you think a politician should be about," the right-wing Billericay MP said.

The Labour Party, which has experienced its own selection problems with left-wing MP Ken Livingstone, sought to make political capital from the Tory move.

"It underlines that the Tories are clearly afraid of democracy," a spokesman said.

"Teresa Gorman is a hard right-winger who is phobic about Europe. As such, she is typical of most of the Parliamentary Conservative Party.

"Why will William Hague not let her stand?"

London Mayor
Mrs Gorman had decided to stand against Mr Norris because of his support for the repeal of Section 28 - a position which puts him at odd with party policy.

She said she was disappointed that her application had been blocked, but pledged to work for a Tory victory in next May's mayoral election.

"I shall, of course, support the chosen candidate who I assume will be required to follow the party line on clause 28 - without equivocation."

Lord Archer Lord Archer's resignation opened the door for new hopefuls
Mr Norris, a former transport minister is considered the frontrunner in the race for the Tory nomination despite his stance on gay rights.

The official Conservative position is to oppose government plans to repeal Section 28 of the Local Government Act, which prevents local authorities from promoting homosexuality in schools.

"If you are a mother in London you don't want your children offered leaflets on alternative lifestyles as they go into school," Mrs Gorman said.

However, Mr Norris has called for the party to drop its opposition to the government's plans to scrap Section 28.

He is supported by Ivan Massow, a gay millionaire who stood down as a candidate in his own right to become policy adviser to the Norris campaign.

The list of nine hopefuls who have been allowed to contest the Tory race will be whittled down for hustings on 15 December.

Two candidates will then go forward to a ballot of the party's 30,000 members in London, with the winner declared on 17 January.

It follows the decision by former Tory candidate Lord Archer to quit in disgrace after it was revealed he asked a former friend to lie ahead of a libel case in the 1980s.

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See also:
23 Nov 99 |  UK Politics
The Archer scandal
26 Nov 99 |  UK Politics
London mayor: Have your say
26 Nov 99 |  UK Politics
A timeline of London government
03 Dec 99 |  UK Politics
Tories split over gay rights sacking
01 Dec 99 |  UK Politics
Gay Tory stays in mayor race
04 Dec 99 |  UK Politics
Net millionaire's second mayoral bid
06 Dec 99 |  UK Politics
Dobson: I'm not depressed

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