Former BBC broadcaster Alice Arnold, has spoke out about the importance of Pride, saying that it is “a party with a message”, and that it is still crucial for the LGBT community.

Speaking at a gala dinner for London Community Pride hosted by the Mayor of London Boris Johnson, Ms Arnold made the comments, and began by reminiscing about past pride events, and saying that pride has grown over the years.

She said: “In [the past] pride was tiny and believe me you knew every face. It’s changed a bit now – thank goodness.”

Continuing to talk about this year’s London Pride, Ms Arnold also referred to the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill, which, once passed through Parliament, will allow same-sex marriage in England and Wales.

“This year’s London Pride theme is Love and Marriage. Well we certainly have the first in this room, and we very very nearly have the second. Can you imagine the party we’re going to have next year when we have got equal marriage through Parliament at last?”, at which point she was met with thunderous applause.

She concluded by noting the importance of Pride today, saying that it was crucial to stay visible, given that there are still issues which the LGBT community must face going forward.

“Pride is a party, it’s a party with a message – a message to show London that we are happy, proud and confident to be who we are. Let’s celebrate what we’ve already achieved and brace ourselves for the fight that is still ahead of us,” she said.

Ms Arnold’s civil partner, Clare Balding, also spoke with tennis star Martina Navratilova at the weekend in one of this week’s first London Pride events. 

The former Wimbledon champion, Ms Navratilova said gay men still feel oppressed on court – and many are still in the closet when it comes to their sexuality.

Saturday 29 June is the main day of this year’s pride festival and the capital’s annual Pride parade will proceed from Baker Street to Trafalgar Square.