An MEP who is standing as the UK Independence Party candidate for Mayor of London has said that if elected he would withdraw funding from the city’s Pride celebrations.

Gerard Batten also pledged to target ethnic minority groups. In the 2004 Mayoral elections UKIP came fourth, winning 6% (115,665) of first preference votes.

A founder member of the party, Mr Batten has been an MEP for the London region since 2004.

He was selected as the UKIP candidate at the party’s conference last year.

The Greater London Authority’s contribution to Pride events in 2007/08 totalled £100,000, which will be met by London Development Agency grant.

£96,000 was paid directly to Pride London via a funding agreement and £4,000 retained by the GLA for marketing, publicity and associated administration costs.

Mr Batten has branded incumbent Mayor Ken Livingstone’s distribution of funds to gay and ethnic minority events as “cultural Marxism,” according to the Evening Standard.

Londoners will choose their next Mayor on May 1st.

As well as Labour candidate Mr Livingstone, Henley MP Boris Johnson is standing for the Tories, former senior Met police officer Brian Paddick is the Lib Dem candidate and Sian Berry is standing for the Greens.

UKIP advocate total withdrawal from the European Union.

They currently have ten MEPs, 30 local councillors and the support of two members of the House of Lords.

In 2006 Mr Batten claimed that former President of the European Commission and Prime Minister of Italy Romano Prodi had been a KGB agent.