Shaun Bailey, the Conservative candidate for the 2021 London mayor elections, has received backlash after he ‘politicised’ the disappearance of Sarah Everard.
The politician said “as a father and husband” he would do more for women and girls in the city - just moments after Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick announced the remains of a body had been found in the search for the missing woman.
So, who is Bailey, what exactly did he say and what are his views on policing and crime? This is everything you need to know.
Who is Shaun Bailey?
Bailey is a British politician, born in North Kensington in 1971.
He was raised by his single mother along with his younger brother, and attended Henry Compton School in Fulham.
He worked as a security guard at Wembley Stadium, prior to achieving a Computer Engineering degree from London South Bank University.
Bailey ran in the 2010, 2015 and 2017 general elections - but was unsuccessful in all attempts.
Former Prime Minister David Cameron employed him as an advisor on youth and crime, as part of the government’s ‘Big Society’ campaign.
Bailey has been a member of the London Assembly since 2016, and is now the 2021 Conservative mayoral candidate.
He and his wife Ellie have two children.
Why has he received backlash for his Tweets?
On 10 March, Bailey took to Twitter as the Metropolitan Police announced an update in the search for missing marketing executive Sarah Everard.
The 33-year-old vanished on 3 March while walking home from a friend's house in Clapham to Brixton, south London.
A police officer held in connection with the disappearance is now being questioned on suspicion of murder after human remains were found in a woodland in Kent.
Following the announcement that human remains had been found, Bailey Tweeted: “As a father and husband it breaks me to think that my wife and daughter have to live in fear in their own city.
“It doesn’t have to be this way. As Mayor, I‘ll ensure that we are working to deliver for the safety of women and girls in London.”
He also linked to an article about women being told to not to go out alone in London.
Twitter users hit back at his Tweet, calling it distasteful and accusing him of “politicising” Ms Everard’s disappearance.
One Twitter user commented: “This is grotesque. Unsurprisingly so, but grotesque nonetheless.
“If you had even a shred of decency, you would delete it immediately.”
Another added: “If you had a shred of dignity you would think about the poor woman’s family before using her disappearance as a political point scoring stunt.
“This is truly sick, disgusting and deeply troubling. Delete it immediately. You really could not have gone any lower.”
When asked on LBC if he regretted the Tweet, Mr Bailey replied: “Absolutely not.”
What did Paul Scully say about the Tweet?
Minister for London, Paul Scully, defended the Conservative candidate on Sky News.
When asked about Bailey’s Tweet and the controversy it had caused, Scully said: “Shaun Bailey has a plan for London in terms of giving the leadership on crime, on housing, on transport and air quality.
"The first thing people want to be is safe in their homes and Shaun has been doing a lot of work around [that].
"But we shouldn't be distracted from the fact that there is a serious crime that's gone on here."
Mr Scully said the Government was "absolutely" doing enough to keep women safe and addressing problems of domestic violence.
What other controversial comments has Bailey made?
This is not the first time Bailey has come under scrutiny for his views.
In the sex education section of a pamphlet he authored in 2005, Bailey said that in his experience, teenage boys believe “clean” and “good looking girls” are less likely to carry sexually transmitted infections.
He wrote: “The boys have got this opinion that if a girl looks clean, and that generally means she’s good looking, she appeals to them, it is less likely she’ll have an infection.”
Bailey said he told these young men: “If a girl appeals to one that way, she’ll appeal to all of them. She’ll tend to have been around.”
In 2006, he also suggested lone mothers get pregnant in order to be granted a council house.
Writing in a Daily Telegraph article, Bailey said: "[single mothers] won't be too careful about not becoming parents. In some cases, they will deliberately become pregnant - as they know that if they do, they will get a flat".
He then reiterated these comments at an event at a Conservative party conference in 2008, saying that "Girls getting knocked up to get housing? It’s a cottage industry where I come from."
He has suggested that young women use abortion as a form of contraception, and early sexual activity was a contributing factor to increased crime.
Bailey, who has a daughter, also said parents should be in charge of whether their teenage daughter has an abortion.
In 2010, Bailey said in an interview with The Times: “Your 14-year-old daughter can have an abortion without you knowing. Who is in charge?”
What are his views on crime and policing?
During his 2020/2021 mayoral campaign, Bailey has argued that increasing stop and search “saves lives.”
In an interview with TalkRadio in February 2020, he said he would “back the police to do the job” by giving them stop and search powers as well as the technology for scan and search.
Prior to Black Lives Matter protests, Bailey also advocated for them to go ahead - despite the ‘stay at home’ rule due to coronavirus.
In June 2020, he told Sky News the marches should go ahead or it "will just spill out into the summer and be very tough for the police".
He also previously shared that he had robbed people when he was younger.
In A House I Grew Up In on BBC Radio 4, he said: "I had a particular group of friends who indulged in a burglary. I had done it with them".
He added: "The problem of having estates with names is that people become very territorial. You kind of defend your 'ends'. Because you don't want your locale to be seen as where the pu**ies live."
When is the London mayoral election and who are the candidates?
The election takes place on 6 May 2021. It will be held simultaneously with elections for the London Assembly and other local elections across England.
The elections were previously scheduled for 7 May 2020, but were cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Bailey will run against incumbent Labour candidate Sadiq Khan, Liberal Democrat nominee Luisa Porritt and Siân Berry for the Green Party.