Tories deny county leader gay snub claim

Image caption,
A Labour activist claims that the council leader refused to shake hands

The Conservative Party has denied allegations from a Labour politician that a Tory leader in Nottinghamshire snubbed him because he is gay.

Retford mayor Ian Campbell said he was to be given a youth citizenship award by council leader Kay Cutts but she failed to present him with his award.

Mr Campbell said it was "disgusting" and sends out the wrong message.

Councillor Cutts was not available for comment but a party spokesman said her conduct that night was "exemplary".

Prime Minister David Cameron ordered an investigation into her conduct and it was referred to party chairman Baroness Warsi.

Mr Campbell was chosen as joint Young Person of the Year in Nottinghamshire by a panel of judges including the county's chief constable and given the award at the end of last year.

It was for his work combating bullying and homophobia in local schools.

The organiser of the Young People of the Year awards, Tony Gearing, claimed: "She was very off hand and had decided she wouldn't take part - despite pleading - with the photographs or with the handing over of the prizes."

The leader of the council has handed out the award to the winner in the past, with other awards handed out by council officials.

Mr Campbell claimed Mrs Cutts had asked him about his nomination and he had explained it was for gays rights and anti-homophobia in schools.

"She seemed to withdraw her hand and was in a bit of a shock.

"She proceeded not to speak to me but speak to other people on my table."

The Conservative Party said an investigation into the allegations had exonerated the council leader.

A spokesman said: "The Conservative Party takes allegations of homophobia extremely seriously.

"(We) are satisfied that her conduct at the youth awards ceremony in question was exemplary and any suggestion to the contrary is completely inaccurate.

"None of her actions were in any way homophobic."

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