Coleman out of race to be next mayor

Councillor Brian Coleman's bid to become the next mayor of London is over after he was eliminated from the running at the first hurdle by Conservative Party officials.

Mr Coleman, the GLA member for Barnet and Camden, was one of four candidates to be dropped by the Tories' mayoral selection executive, made up of voluntary representatives of the party in London, on December 18.

Mr Coleman campaigned on a zero tolerance approach to crime but had no comment to make on his defeat.

"There's never any reason given for the decision, said a Conservative party spokesman. "Unfortunately not everyone can get through. We've got to get the field down to two candidates by the hustings on January 15."

The executive narrowed the field from 11 to seven hopefuls, who were due to be interviewed at the next stage yesterday. The selection ends with a postal ballot of all London members, with the winner announced on the February 16.

Steven Norris is emerging as the favourite to challenge Ken Livingstone for the Conservatives. He was defeated by Mr Livingstone in the last mayoral elections in 2000.

Meanwhile, the GLA says it has not received any complaints about Mr Coleman's so-called 'lust list' of his most attractive male colleagues.

Mr Coleman used the GLA email system about two years ago to exchange views with Green Party GLA member Darren Johnson on five male staff they found attractive. Both men are openly gay.

The list was discovered by accident by an aide, but none of the men on it have made a complaint. A spokeswoman for the GLA would not say whether any action would be taken against Mr Coleman and Mr Johnson. Mr Coleman refused to comment.

Under current British employment law, bosses who compile lists of attractive staff from the opposite sex are open to claims of sexual harassment. Same-sex lists are described as a legal grey area.

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