The Conservatives’ London mayoral candidate is calling for tougher laws to protect LGBT+ people in the capital.

Shaun Bailey says he would lobby central government to strengthen hate crime laws.

Homophobic and transphobic hate crime has risen more than 50 per cent since 2016, according to figures from the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime.

Almost 3,000 LGBT+ hate crimes were reported to police last year – but more than 80 per cent go unreported, LGBT+ charity Stonewall says.

Race, religion, disability sexual orientation or transgender identity are all protected characteristics under hate crime law.

But offences based on race or religion have extra protections – perpetrators can be charged with additional crimes and face longer sentences.

Mr Bailey believes these ‘aggravated offence’ rules should also apply to homophobic hate crime.

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Shaun Bailey wants tougher laws to tackle LGBT hate crimes (Photo: GLA).Shaun Bailey wants tougher laws to tackle LGBT hate crimes (Photo: GLA).

The Conservative candidate said that having experienced racist abuse he stands “in total solidarity” with LGBT+ Londoners.

He claims the Mayor has failed to protect gay and transgender people in the capital.

Mr Bailey said: “This failure is emblematic of the entire Khan approach to government: promise lots, deliver little.

“My tough on crime plan will ensure that criminals on and offline are put under pressure, not victims.

“I will fight for London’s values of openness and acceptance.

“Not a single Londoner should feel unsafe for being themselves – that message must reach out to London and it must come from the very top at City Hall.”

Responding to the policy announcement, the Mayor told the Local Democracy Service he was “happy to work with anybody” to tackle hate crime.

But Mr Khan said they must “demonstrate they really are an LGBT+ ally”.

He said: “I’m the first Mayor who Pride after Pride after Pride I’ve been leading the Pride march.

“But I’ve also been making it quite clear that we’ve got to be a city that doesn’t just tolerate difference but respects it, celebrates it, and embraces it.

“That means when our Prime Minister says things which are clearly homophobic they get called out.

“What I’d like to see Mr Bailey do, rather than being a sycophant of Boris Johnson, is call him out when he’s being clearly homophobic.”

The Prime Minister referred to gay men attending London night club Ministry of Sound as “tank-topped bum boys” in a 1998 column for The Telegraph.

Mr Khan has previously condemned Mr Johnson’s homophobic, racist and Islamophobic comments.

Liberal Democrat mayoral candidate Siobhan Benita echoed the Mayor’s concerns.

She said: “It’s ironic that one of the most shameful instances of homophobia came from the last Tory Mayor of London, Boris Johnson.

“Does Shaun Bailey intend to hold his Prime Minister to account for this use of homophobic language?”

She added: “How our public leaders act and what they say matters. The example they set is followed by others.

“As Liberal Democrats we will always call out discrimination and hate crime wherever it occurs, even if that is sadly at the very top of our Government.”

Independent mayoral candidate Rory Stewart and Green candidate Sian Berry could not be reached for comment.