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Popular Topics in The Arts
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Congratulations to New UK Peer Brian Paddick
Posted by: Claude J. Summers on 08/01/13
Last updated on: 08/01/13
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Brian Paddick.

Congratulations to Brian Paddick, former Deputy Assistant Commissioner in the Metropolitan Police Service, who has been named a Life Peer by Queen Elizabeth II. When he retired in 2007, Paddick was the most senior openly gay police officer in British history. He subsequently ran unsuccessfully for Mayor of London and campaigned for marriage equality in England and Wales.

As Scott Roberts reports in PinkNews, Paddick played a key role in urging the Liberal Democrats to adopt equal marriage as party policy. He is currently joint president of LGBT+ Lib Dems, a constituency group in the party.

Upon the announcement of his appointment to the House of Lords, Paddick promised to remain independent: "I am dedicated to the Liberal Democrat fight to give everyone the chance to succeed. I have always been non-conformist though, so I am not giving in to Peer pressure!"

Paddick was recently praised by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg for his efforts on behalf of marriage equality. Liberal Democrat International Development Minister Lynne Featherstone--who previously served as Equalities Minister--also cited Paddick's contributions.

In 2010, Paddick strongly criticized the gay rights organization Stonewall for its refusal to support equal marriage in a speech carried live on BBC Parliament. Stonewall subsequently announced a change of policy.

Paddick served more than three decades in the Metropolitan Police, having enlisted in 1976. Rising through the ranks, he was appointed the officer in charge of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) at Notting Hill in 1995, then returned to New Scotland Yard, first as Superintendent of the Personnel Department in 1996 and then as Chief Superintendent in 1997. In December 2000 he was appointed Police Commander for the London Borough of Lambeth.

Paddick became known for a "softly softly" approach to community policing. He was given the nickname "cannabis cop" because he instructed officers to pursue the selling and use of hard drugs but not marijuana.

Paddick was the official police spokesman in the aftermath of the July 7, 2005 terrorist bombings in 2005, but left after leading the investigation into the shooting of innocent Brazilian Jean Charles de Menezes at Stockwell Tube station later that month.

Paddick was the Liberal Democratic candidate for Mayor in 2008 and 2012, finishing third on each occasion.

He contributed a video to the Out4Marriage campaign, in which he referred to his marriage to Petter Belsvik, a civil engineer from Norway. The couple married in Oslo on Janury 9, 2009, just eight days after same-sex marriage was legalized in Norway.

In the video he speaks against the practice of having civil partnerships for one group of citizens and marriage for another, declaring "Equal means equal."

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