The owner of Melbourne’s Peel Hotel, Tom McFeely, has ruled out his sexuality playing any part in his hasty departure, then sudden return to the Liberal Party.

Within a 24-hour period last week McFeely announced he would leave the Liberal’s and stand as an Independent in the inner city seat of Richmond, then reversed the decision.

McFeely told Sydney Star Observer there was a simple explanation. “Basically, it came down to a miscommunication from an inexperienced staffer, nothing to do with policy, gay stuff … absolutely not,” he said.

“I’ve always said the Liberal Party, they’re friendlier than some in the Labor Party, and I’m not just saying that because I’m a Liberal, I’m saying it as a fact.”

It’s understood the disagreement was over the use of a campaign photograph.

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