Parties condemn anti-gay ‘smears’ against former Tower Hamlets councillor
PUBLISHED: 11:15 03 December 2013 | UPDATED: 11:40 03 December 2013
Police are investigating a homophobic “smear” campaign against a former Tower Hamlets councillor after posters accusing him of paedophilia were put up near his home.
All parties have condemned the posters of former Lib Dem councillor Nigel McCollum, which appeared in Bow on the morning of November 28 after he spoke in a full council meeting the night before.
Mr McCollum, who is gay and in a long term relationship, had questioned the council on behalf of a resident about £1.6million developments in Roman Road.
The posters used a recent photograph of the former Bow East councillor and listed his contact details.
Police said the incident is not being treated as a hate crime, but officers are “open-minded regarding the motive”.
Lib Dem councillor Dr Stephanie Eaton said Mr McCollum was too upset to speak to the paper directly, but added: “Nigel and I believe this to be a serious homophobic attack, and one that is aimed at stopping him from continuing his political activities.
“It is an attack on all people involved in local politics.”
Cllr Sirajul Islam, leader of the Labour group, said: “I totally condemn these utterly atrocious attempts to smear a hard-working and respected former councillor.
“We hope that those responsible will be swiftly bought to justice.”
Cllr Peter Golds, head of the Conservatives in Tower Hamlets, said: “We absolutely condemn anything like this, and we need a full investigation to find out who has done it.”
Mayor Lutfur Rahman condemned the “shocking and potentially criminal actions” and said he has spoken to Mr McCollum to offer him the council’s sympathy and support.
He added: “There can be no place for homophobia and hate in Tower Hamlets. Those who attempt to promulgate it must know that there will be consequences to their actions.”
Anyone who may have information on the identity of those responsible should call the Community Safety Unit at Limehouse Police Station on 020 7275 4758 or Crimestoppers in confidence on 0800 555 111.