Former government minister and first openly lesbian MP Angela Eagle has now become the first patron of Liverpool Pride.

The shadow leader of the House of Commons, who has been Labour’s MP for Wallasey since 1992, will lead the parade on 4 August.

Ms Eagle said: “I am proud to be the first official patron of Liverpool Pride. As an organisation Liverpool Pride does so much to celebrate the diversity in communities across Merseyside. It also works to tear down barriers, stand up for rights and insist on equality for LGBT people.

“And although only in its early years, the annual Liverpool Pride festival is already rivalling similar events around the globe. The festival positively represents the Liverpool city region as the wonderfully colourful, vibrant and accepting place that it is.”

“It also serves as a reminder that the world has no place for discrimination and prejudice – it certainly has no place on Merseyside.”

Ms Eagle will give a short speech at the starting point on William Brown Street and lead the march.

Zoran Blackie, Chair of Liverpool Pride said: “Liverpool Pride is honoured that such an inspirational figure within the campaign for the rights of LGBT people in this country is willing to stand with us in recognising and supporting the needs of our community.

“I am delighted that she will be helping us to lead the march through Liverpool city centre, as she represents what we are all about –our LGBT community making a difference in our city and showing us off to the country.”

Liverpool Pride is now preparing for its third annual event. Following a number of high profile attacks in the city, it takes place each year to coincide with the anniversary of murdered gay teenager Michael Causer.

Liverpool Pride 2012 will take place at Liverpool’s iconic pier-head and throughout the Stanley Street Gay Quarter.

In addition to this, there will be a weekend of cultural events taking place at some of Liverpool’s arts and culture establishments.

The festival’s ‘Nautical but Nice’ theme, chosen in a ballot by 700 members of the local LGBT community, recognises the 100 year anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic and celebrates the city’s maritime history, taking advantage of the main festival site on the banks of the River Mersey.

Applications are still open for the Liverpool Pride March. Individuals, groups and organisations are invited to take part by registering online at www.liverpoolpride.co.uk/march before 31 July.