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Lambeth Toilet Apology

July 13, 2005 12:00 AM

A Tory councillor from Lambeth has dismissed claims he made homophobic comments about "deviant behaviour" in public toilets.

Cllr Bernard Gentry wrote to the South London Press about the fact that Cllr John Whelan, Lambeth's deputy leader, was propositioned with gay sex after he inspected a recently renovated toilet in June.

"The public have a right to use Clapham Common and its facilities without fear of being approached by sex offenders and other criminals," Gentry said in his letter.

The South London Press report that at a recent meeting of the council, opposition Labour leader Cllr Steve Reed said Cllr Gentry's letter had caused widespread upset to the gay community.

"Many members of the gay community have expressed outrage that Cllr Gentry's letter appeared to equate gay people with deviant acts purportedly taking place in toilets," Reed said before asking Gentry to make his position on homophobia clear.

Cllr Gentry told the meeting: "I very much regret that some people have misrepresented my words and I am happy to make clear my total opposition to any form of prejudice and discrimination, be it sexual, racial, religious or any other kind."

Lambeth council has said that it would monitor any illegal activities that happen in the borough's toilets and make sure they are kept clean.