Prime Minister David Cameron turned down Vladimir Putin’s invitation to attend the Winter Olympics, but not because of Russia’s stance on gay rights, Downing Street had said.
The London Evening Standard reports Downing Street saying the only reason for Mr Cameron staying away was that he was busy, adding that there was “no tradition” for British prime ministers to attend the Winter Olympics.
Princess Anne, a former Olympic equestrian competitor, Lord Coe and Culture Secretary Maria Miller will lead the British delegation.
The spokesman said: “We are confirming that the Prime Minister is not attending, and that reflects that it is not usual for the Prime Minister to attend. However, the Prime Minister will be in Sochi later this year for the G8.”
President Putin chose the Black Sea resort for the G8 summit of major world powers this June.
For the first time since 2000, the US will also not send a president, former president, first lady or vice president to the Winter Olympics.
Several days before, French President Francois Hollande announced he would not be attending the Games.
However, both President Hollande and President Gauck failed to state their official reasons for not attending.
Someone who did state her reasons for not attending was EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding. She announced on her official Twitter account that she would “certainly not go to Sochi as long as minorities are treated the way they are under the current Russian legislation.”
“We don’t have a ban on non-traditional sexual relations,” he said. “We have a ban on the propaganda of homosexuality and paedophilia.”