22nd December 2007
Blair converts to Catholicism 1
1:01 PM — Former prime minister, Tony Blair, has converted to Catholicism, his spokesman confirmed today.He was welcomed into the church in a service last last night by the head of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor.Mr Blair's relationship with the gay community was seriously damaged following his appointment of the devoutly Catholic Ruth Kelly to the post of Minister for Equality in 2006. Ms Kelly, a member of Opus Dei had never voted in favour of gay rights despite her role holding responsibility for LGBT issues.
21st December 2007
Graham Norton to search for new star of Oliver!
7:20 PM — Gay comic Graham Norton will host a new show for the BBC next year, I'd Do Anything will try to find four new stars for the musical Oliver.Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber will lead the judges but will be joined by the musical theatre produer, Cameron Mackintosh, listed as the 16th most influential gay person in Britain in the Independent's 2007 list.
London HIV funding cuts reversed 15
6:55 PM — Charity Gay Men Fighting AIDS has revealed that it has received an announcement from NHS London stating that HIV prevention funds for gay men will not be cut.Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) have been told to back down on their previous stance that money was too tight."HIV prevention work for gay men in London was going to be cut by 36%, which would have meant that some of the existing services would just stop," said Matthew Hodson, Head of Programmes for GMFA.
Review: St Trinians impresses and amuses 1
5:30 PM — With an all-star cast, the latest St Trinian's film brings the unruly schoolgirls kicking and screaming into the twenty-first century.Facing closure from the bank, and under pressure from the government for her unorthodox teaching methods, headmistress Camilla Fritton (played with great relish by Rupert Everett), rallies her girls round.Pitting their wits against former-flame, Education Minister Geoffrey Thwaites (Colin Firth), she joins her pupils in a plot to steal famous painting, Girl with a Pearl Earring.
Paddick calls on Met chief to resign over shooting 2
2:40 PM — The Liberal Democrat candidate for Mayor of London has again called on the capital's most senior police officer to resign over the shooting of an innocent man.Brian Paddick's remarks follow the announcement today by the independent police watchdog that no officers from the Metropolitan police will face charges or disciplinary action over the killing of Jean Charles de Menezes on July 22nd 2005.Mr Paddick was the UK's most senior out gay officer until he stood down as one of the Met's Deputy Assistant Commissioners in May.
Spanish embassy unaware of civil partnerships agreement 170
1:55 PM — The Spanish Embassy in London was unaware UK civil partners should now receive the same benefit as married couples in Spain, despite advice from the British government that Spanish authorities should be contacted for guidance on the matter.When contacted by PinkNews.co.uk today Fernando Villalba, the Spanish Embassy press councillor, said: "This is the first time I have heard about that. I haven't seen it in the news."He said he had no advice for same-sex civil partners wishing to claim marriage benefits.
Christian MPs want to amend hate crime legislation 102
1:40 PM — A cross-party group of MPs has tabled an amendment designed to ensure that homophobic Christians can continue to express their views on gay people.Devout Roman Catholics Ann Widdecombe and Jim Dobbin are among the MPs attempting to amend the government's proposal to make incitement to hatred on the grounds of sexual orientation a criminal offence.Christian Concern for our Nation is urging its supporters to pressure MPs into supporting the new amendment.
Gay volunteer recognised with local hero award
12:05 PM — A Stonewall volunteer has been honoured for his charity work.As well as his prestigious Bank of America Local Hero Award,John Leander was given £3,000 for his nominated charity, which he donated to Stonewall.Mr Leander has volunteered full-time at Stonewall for 4 years, making a key contribution to their work promoting equality and justice for gay people.
Organisers appeal to gay community’s Olympic spirit 1
11:30 AM — Next year the countdown to the 2012 Olympic Games begin in earnest. August 2008 marks the start of London's Olympiad.To kick-start the activities, London 2012 and the London Development Agency are launching the Get Set London roadshow on Wednesday 9th January in Trafalgar Square.This is a great opportunity for Londoners to find out how the 2012 Olympic Games Paralympic Games will benefit jobs and skills, culture, sports, business and regeneration in the capital.
Interview: Exorcising the spirit of Section 28
11:15 AM — "I'd put entertainer," Rikki Beadle-Blair says with a grin, when I ask him what he puts down as his occupation when he fills in official forms.The reason for my question is that Rikki seems to be good at everything. He wrote his first play at the age of seven and started directing at eleven.He has enjoyed success as an actor, director, screenwriter, playwright, singer and songwriter; and in his spare time, if he gets any, he teaches aerobics and dance.
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.