Current Affairs

Simon Hughes protests against Russian treatment of Peter Tatchell

PinkNews Staff Writer June 8, 2007
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Liberal Democrat Simon Hughes MP requested a meeting with the Russian ambassador to the UK yesterday, to protest about the treatment Peter Tatchell received at Moscow Pride.

Mr Tatchell, who is one of Mr Hughes’ constituents, was attacked and then arrested by riot police when he joined protestors supporting the right of freedom of expression of gay people in Moscow and Russia.

Mr Hughes said: “I see it as my responsibility to defend the rights and liberties of the people of North Southwark and Bermondsey and other British residents whether they are at home or abroad.

“If Russia wants to be accepted as a modern democracy then it must behave accordingly.”

Just hours after his attack in Moscow, Peter Tatchell told “I’m not deterred one iota from coming back to protest in Moscow. Gay Russians need overseas support to protect them against state and neo-Nazi violence.”

“I urge people to protest to the Russian Ambassador and to ask their local MP to send a letter of protest to the Russian embassy.”

Simon Hughes apologised last year for homophobic campaigning against Peter Tatchell that led to his election as an MP in 1983.

Liberal Democrat leadership contender, Simon Hughes has belatedly apologised for homophobic campaigning that led to his election as an MP in 1983.

During the by-election, won by Mr Hughes with one of the biggest recorded swings against Labour, the then Liberal party presented him as “the straight choice” while Mr Tatchell was smeared by political rivals.

Mr Hughes told the BBC’s Newsnight programme: “I hope that there will never be that sort of campaign again. I have never been comfortable about the whole of that campaign, as Peter knows, and I said that to him in the past . . . Where there were things that were inappropriate or wrong, I apologise for that.”

But Mr Tatchell, now a Green Party member, said that it was time to “forgive and forget.”

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