20th December 2007
Men plead not guilty to Royal blackmail charges 25
4:30 PM — Two men charged with attempting to blackmail a minor member of the Royal Family pleaded not guilty at the Old Bailey today.Ian Strachan, 30, and Sean McGuigan, 40, were arrested in October after police mounted a sting operation.They are alleged to have demanded £50,000 not to release a video showing an aide to a member of the Royal Family discussing engaging in oral sex with his employer.
Stephen Williams promoted in Lib Dem reshuffle 1
2:28 PM — Bristol West MP Stephen Williams has been appointed Liberal Democrat frontbench spokesman for Innovation, Universities and Skills.He becomes the only gay man in the party's 'Shadow Cabinet.' In his previous roles as an education spokesman he gained prominence for his fight against homophobic bullying in schools.Mr Williams, 40, was elected to Parliament in 2005. Last year he was nominated for Politician of the Year at the Stonewall Awards.
Frontline role for Charlie in new Lib Dem team
2:15 PM — Nick Clegg has announced the first appointments to his frontbench team since becoming Liberal Democrat leader on Tuesday.Former leader Charles Kennedy returns to frontline politics, and in an unusual arrangement he will speak from the frontbench on Europe but not be the party's official Europe spokesman.London MP Lynne Featherstone has been appointed as the party's youth and equality spokesperson, shadowing the equality team led by Harriet Harman.
EHRC offers funding to grassroots organisations
12:58 PM — A grants programme worth up to £10 million aimed at funding grass roots organisations across all areas of equality was launched by the Equality and Human Rights Commission yesterday.The funding scheme has developed three areas for priority funding.Applicants from organisations working to promote good relations, highlight equality and human rights and case work will be encouraged. Examples include reducing the impact of hate crime.
Arts Council cuts threaten Manchester cultural festival 1
12:49 PM — A leading LGBT arts organisation is facing a bleak future after its funding for next year has been cut.queerupnorth was the first queer festival and was the first of its kind in the UK and Europe and describes itself as "the most adventurous and creative queer arts cultural producer in the UK."Arts Council England has announced plans to end £98,000 of funding of queerupnorth in March 2008.
19th December 2007
Ewan McGregor and Jim Carrey sign up for gay roles 1
5:45 PM — A new Hollywood movie, already dubbed Brokeback Prison, will see comedian Jim Carrey play a married prisoner who falls in love with another inmate, played British actor Ewan McGregorProduction is due to begin on I Love You Phillip Morris in spring.It is based on the true story of Steve Russell, a convicted conman, who fell for his cellmate, the Morris of the film's title.
Equality commission to review trans hate crime law 1
5:10 PM — The chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission has told PinkNews.co.uk that it will be reviewing the evidence regarding the need to criminalise incitement to hatred against trans people.The government has brought forward a new offence of incitement to hatred on the grounds of sexual orientation, but said that there was insufficient evidence to extend the measure to the trans community.A meeting of the EHRC commissioners last Thursday backed the new incitement legislation.
MP’s “baffling” attack on Hazel Blears 2
3:40 PM — A veteran Labour MP has accused the Communities Secretary Hazel Blears of acting out of "venal and personal reasons" with regard to the merger of councils in Cheshire.In an unusual attack, Gwyneth Dunwoody said: "I have seen the crawlers. I've seen those whose sexual preferences were of interest to others."I've seen those who've demonstrated a great commitment to their own interest, irrespective of the political parties they were supposed to be representing.
Paddick confident of Sir Elton’s support 6
12:50 PM — International superstar Elton John and his partner, the film producer David Furnish, will be supporting the campaign of the only gay candidate for Mayor of London.Brian Paddick, a former Metropolitan police Deputy Assistant Commissioner, told LBC radio this morning of his celebrity backers.During his time at the Met Mr Paddick was the UK's most senior out gay police officer.
Tatchell calls for clear policy after Pogues debacle 13
12:10 PM — The reversal of a decision taken by BBC Radio 1 to bleep the word 'faggot' from the Pogues and Kirsty MacColl Christmas song Fairytale of New Yorkhas been attacked by a leading gay campaigner.Peter Tatchell, who leads the Stop Murder Music campaign, which targets homophobic singers who advocate the killing of gay people, said that a consistent policy was needed.BBC Radio 1 had previously decided to censor the song over concerns it may cause offence to gay people.
Blue Peter presenter joins GaydarRadio 1
11:50 AM — A former children's TV personality is the latest face to join the GaydarRadio lineup.Former Blue Peter presenter Stuart Miles will host a three hour afternoon request show for the digital channel.He was one of the presenters on the BBC's flagship children's programme from 1994 to 1999.
18th December 2007
Radio 1 backs down over Pogues ‘faggot’ ban 6
5:46 PM — A BBC radio channel has reversed its decision to bleep out the word "faggot" from the Pogues and Kirsty MacColl Christmas song Fairytale of New York.BBC Radio 1 had previously decided to censor the song over concerns it may cause offence to gay people.But in a statement released this afternoon station controller Andy Parfitt said the decision was "wrong" and would be reversed.
Tory MEP: US HIV rules are “double discrimination” 2
4:15 PM — New regulations issued by the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) which claim to offer a "streamlined," "categorical" waiver for HIV-positive people visiting the country have been criticised by an English Euro MP.London Conservative MEP Charles Tannock, a former NHS doctor, said the proposed arrangements amount to "double discrimination."He has raised the issue with senior EU officials after being contacted by constituents.
FCO confirms Spanish recognition of UK partnerships 170
3:50 PM — The British government has published information on an embassy website confirming the new agreement between the UK and Spain regarding recognition of UK civil partnerships.Gay couple Paul and Martin Ward signed the civil partnership register in Devon on Valentine's Day this year, having been advised that it would be recognised in Spain, where Paul lives.When they found out this was not the case, they began a campaign to receive recognition for their partnership.
Lesbian politician attacks Ian Paisley Jnr
3:05 PM — The Speaker of New York City Council, Chrissie Quinn, has said that comments from junior Northern Ireland minister that he found gay people repulsive should never have been made.During a five-day visit to Belfast Ms Quinn, who is one of the most prominent lesbian politicians in the US, attacked Ian Paisley Jnr, who is the son and namesake of the Democratic Unionist First Minister.He told Hotpress magazine in May that lesbians and gay men harm society.
Lib Dems choose Clegg as leader 18
2:42 PM — Nick Clegg is the new leader of the Liberal Democrats. He won a narrow victory of just 511 over the party's environment spokesman Chris Huhne. Mr Clegg won 20,988 votes to Mr Huhne's 20,477.At 40, he is the youngest party leader in the Commons and 26 years younger than his predecessor Sir Ming Campbell.The result of the election was announced this afternoon to a large audience in a central London hotel by acting Lib Dem leader Vince Cable.
Stonewall question Radio 1’s inconsistency over gay language 5
1:45 PM — BBC Radio 1 has been criticised by gay equality organisation Stonewall for its stance on homophobic language.The channel has decided to bleep the word 'faggot' in the classic Christmas song Fairytale of New York because it thinks some members of the audience might find it offensive.However, Radio 1 recently stood by DJ Chris Moyles and refused to apologise for his use of the word 'gay' in a context more associated with homophobic playground language.
Lib Dem leader to be announced today
12:15 PM — The Liberal Democrats will announce their new leader today. Home affairs spokesman Nick Clegg and environment spokesman Chris Huhne are the contenders.The result will be announced at 14:30. Mr Clegg is favourite to win, though Mr Huhne's camp are claiming that a late surge in support among an estimated 65,000 Lib Dem party members.82% of PinkNews.co.uk readers who took part in a poll released earlier this week favour Mr Clegg, the MP for Sheffield Hallam.
17th December 2007
Little Britain star to play Frankie Howerd
4:40 PM — David Walliams, better known as the straight half of the Little Britain team, will further highlight his credentials as a serious actor in a new BBC4 drama. Frankie Howerd: Rather You Than Me will tell the story of the camp funny man, a star from the 1950s until his death in 1992.The drama is based on interviews with the comedy legend's partner Dennis Heymer.
Westminster spa ends discrimination against gays 1
4:15 PM — A politics blog has successfully pressured a Westminster City Council spa into giving gay and lesbian couples the same discount as heterosexuals.The Porchester Spa, run by the council, was charging same-sex couples £40.70 for the use of steam rooms and baths instead of the £28.25 straight couples paid.Recess Monkey, a left-leaning political blog, said today that a journalist had informed them that this "gay tax" has been abolished.