EXCLUSIVE: Boris will attend Pride London
The new Mayor of London will take part in the city’s gay Pride parade on July 5th, PinkNews.co.uk can confirm.
It will be the first Pride event that Boris Johnson has attended.
He had previously promised at a hustings organised by Stonewall during the campaign to come along whatever the outcome of the election. Watch video footage of his promise to attend here.
Mr Johnson beat incumbent Labour Mayor Ken Livingstone when Londoners went to the polls last Thursday.
With a record 45% turnout, he took 1,168,738 (53.2%) to 1,028,966 (46.8%) for Mr Livingstone, after second-preference votes were counted.
Dan Ritterband, who was Mr Johnson’s campaign manger, confirmed today that the new Mayor is coming to Pride and looking forward to taking part in the parade.
Mr Ritterband, who was named as one of the most influential gay, lesbian, bisexual and trans (LGBT) people in British politics in the PinkNews.co.uk Top 50 List last year, is expected to take a senior role in City Hall.
A former advertising executive, he worked in Tory leader Michael Howard’s private office and was a member of the Cameron leadership campaign team.
The 33-year-old high-flyer is reportedly taking charge of the City Hall marketing brief, with responsibility for events, including the 2012 Olympics.
Mr Ritterband is working closely with the Mayor on plans for Pride London.
A Conservative source told PinkNews.co.uk that the party may participate in this year’s parade with a float.
Party leader David Cameron has been consulted about the Tory float and is supportive of the idea.
Last year the Conservative candidate for Brighton Pavilion, Dr David Bull, had a float in the city’s Pride parade, replete with topless dancing boys. It is unclear if the London Tories will follow suit.
Ben Summerskill, the chief executive of Stonewall, welcomed news that Mr Johnson will be taking part in Pride London.
“We are pleased that the Mayor is honouring the commitment he made at the Stonewall hustings and we look forward to his engaging with all of London’s communities,” he said.
A City Hall source told PinkNews.co.uk that the transition between Ken and Boris has gone smoothly.
The new Mayor addressed an assembly of all City Hall staff on his first day, something his predecessor had not done in his eight years in office.
Office spaces are being converted to make them more open-plan, and some swipe card systems that restricted access to parts of the building are to be removed.
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Alongside Mr Ritterband, there are several gay men working in senior positions for Mr Johnson.
Deputy Mayor Richard Barnes, new Planning Adviser Sir Simon Milton and Brian Coleman, the newly-appointed Chair of the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority, were all featured on the PinkNews.co.uk Top 50 List published last December.
Critics point out that while Mr Johnson has appointed four Deputy Mayors, none of them is female.
Sources close to the Mayor have confirmed that Nick Boles is working with the new team at City Hall “literally just for the transition period” and he will not be appointed to a permanent post.
Mr Boles, who, like Mr Johnson, is close to Tory leader David Cameron, was expected by many to win the Tory party nomination for Mayor of London, but he was diagnosed with a form of cancer and withdrew from the race.
A former director of think tank Policy Exchange, he has made a full recovery and last year he was selected to fight the seat Margaret Thatcher grew up in, Grantham and Stamford. He is one of a handful of openly gay Tory candidates.