The community is divided on news Peel Hotel owner Tom McFeely is seeking endorsement from the Liberal Party to stand as a ‘number two’ at the Victorian election this year.

McFeely revealed his intention to stand for an Upper House seat in an open letter to the community last week.

McFeely told Southern Star that while he would stand up for gay rights if he won a seat, he was not simply a ‘gay candidate’.

“I view myself as an individual small businessman … I feel strongly about things and I happen to be gay,” he said.

“I will in one sense be an advocate, but I certainly won’t be running on any gay platform. I think politicians are there to represent every voter.”

McFeely is seeking endorsement to run as a second candidate to Liberal Matthew Guy who currently holds the northern metropolitan region seat and is expected to re-contest.

The news has received mixed reception with comments on Southern Star’s website claiming McFeely had “sold out” with his choice of party.

McFeely said he knew there would be “some opposition” to his decision but said he believed the Liberal Party would better serve the GLBTI community.

“I actually see it as an opportunity for both the Liberal Party and the gay community,” he said. “If you research it… the Liberal Party’s done quite a lot for the community, and I think it’s unfortunate that they’ve had a bad rap over the years.

“I think it would be a win-win situation.”

McFeely said his main motivation to enter politics was based on his “strong views” on law and order and small business.

On his chances of preselection McFeely said he was “optimistic”.

The Sunday Age reported that McFeely had “the support of senior Liberals” for the northern metropolitan region seat.

“There’s not really a lot I can say until I see what happens … I am optimistic as every candidate is optimistic,” he said.

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