Tories will walk with Boris at their first Pride London

Tony Grew July 4, 2008
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Up to 20 young members of the Conservative party will be accompanying the Mayor of London on his first Pride march tomorrow.

It is the first time the Tories have taken part in Pride London and up to 20 people are expected to represent the party, walking with Boris Johnson and handing balloons and leaflets.

LGBTory is set to launch a new website tomorrow and organisers view Pride London as an opportunity to make people more aware of their existence.

Founder Anastasia Beaumont-Bott told

“We want to dispel the myth of a homophobic Tory party. Anyone who works in the party will tell you its very open.

“We realise that we may feel we do (about gay rights) but there is a generation in the party who do not. We are committed to combating homophobia at all levels.”

The Leader of the Conservative Party, David Cameron, has sent his “best wishes” to everyone attending this year’s Pride London event.

“The success and popularity of the many Pride events in Britain is testimony to our diversity,” he said.

“It’s great that so many people now join in these celebrations in our capital city, which both entertain and raise awareness.

“To all of those attending Pride London, have a great day.”

Labour party activists pointed to the voting records of Tory MPs on gay issues.

Katie Hanson, LGBT Labour co-chair, told

“If the Tories want gay and lesbian people to vote for them in elections, they should start to vote for gay and lesbian rights in Parliament.

“The Tories may say they’ve changed, but look at what they’ve done in 2008 so far. In January this year, when Labour was introducing protection for gay people from hate crime, just 5 Tory MPs supported us.

“And just last month more than 9 out of 10 Tory MPs voted against Labour MPs to make it harder for lesbian couples to access IVF. It remains true to this day that only Labour can deliver equality for LGBT people.

“The strength of Pride London is that it is open to all; the same cannot be said of the Conservatives. Fancy floats won’t buy our votes.”

Ms Beaumont Bott said:

“In a way it’s not about political parties.

“As a member of the LGBT community I would rather there was a group in the Tory party committed to fighting homophobia, especially as we are going to form the next government.”

She pointed out that two members of the Shadow Cabinet, Nick Herbert and Alan Duncan, are gay and that the party vice-chairman Margot James is a lesbian.

Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to watch tomorrow’s Pride London parade, which begins at Baker St at 1pm.

Following the parade through central London the main stage in Trafalgar Square will host an mix of the latest acts as well as politics, speakers and news from Prides around the world.

Mayor Boris Johnson, Harriet Harman, Labour Deputy Leader and the leader of the Lib Dems Nick Clegg will address the crowd.

The party continues in Soho with the Dance Stage in Soho Square, the Women’s Stage in Dean Street and the Black, Asian and Ethnic Music Stage in Carlisle Street.

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