Gay protests twice disrupt Portillo’s victory press conference


Tatchell gives TV interview, after result of ballot is announced , 2-November-1999. ©1999 John Hunt/OutRage! London

OutRage! has condemned the selection of homophobe and hypocrite Michael Portillo as Tory candidate for Kensington and Chelsea.

“Selecting a homophobe like Michael Portillo is the moral equivalent of choosing a racist”, said Peter Tatchell.

“The Conservatives would not consider picking someone who advocates discrimination against black people, yet they have consciously chosen a candidate who endorses discrimination against lesbians and gay men.

“It shows that the Tories remain the party of bigotry and intolerance.”

Two members of OutRage! twice breached security and slipped through a heavy police guard to disrupt Michael Portillo’s first press conference as candidate, at Kensington Town Hall on Tuesday, 2nd November.

Just moments after Portillo had been selected as Tory candidate for Kensington and Chelsea, Fernando Guasch of OutRage! sneaked into the press conference and shouted: “Hypocrite! Homophobe! Bigot! You support laws that you yourself break”.

Then another OutRage! member, Ben Evans, got within eight feet of Portillo and asked him: “Mr. Portillo, how do you reconcile your homosexuality with your homophobia?”.

Both men were violently ejected fron the press conference by police and security staff.

Afterwards, as Mr. Portillo tried to evade protests and the media by leaving the Town Hall via a back exit, his car was halted at the top of the ramp leading out of the underground car-park.

OutRage! activists brandishing placards emblazoned with the words “Portillo – Liar! Hypocrite! Criminal!” ran in front of his car, causing it to halt and prompting Mr. Portillo to duck his head in a bid to avoid being recognised.

“These protests are a foretaste of what Mr. Portillo can expect over the coming weeks. We will harry, embarrass, ridicule and shame him wherever he goes”, said Mr. Tatchell.

OutRage! has attacked Mr. Portillo over his decision to enter and exit Kensington Town Hall via the back entrance. “Unlike the other candidates he was too cowardly to face the media and a dozen gay-rights protesters”, said Mr. Tatchell.

The by-election, caused by the death of Alan Clark, will be held on the 25th November.