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EXCLUSIVE: Boris committed to future Pride London parades

Tony Grew July 5, 2008

The Mayor of London has said that Pride London will have his support in future years, after he took part for the first time today.

In a week where one of his deputy Mayors resigned and his father-in-law, respected broadcast journalist Sir Charles Wheeler, died, Boris Johnson seemed genuinely uplifted by the event.

A large group of photographers, desperate to get a shot of Boris surrounded by gay Londoners, mobbed him as the parade attempted to move off from Baker St.

The Mayor was accompanied by around ten members of LGBTory, a new group in the Conservative party advocating equality.

He walked arm in arm with Mz Fontaine, the UK’s most prominent lesbian rapper, for the entirety of the route.

While there were a few incidents of booing, the vast majority of the crowd applauded Mr Johnson as he led the parade along Oxford St, Regent St and onto Trafalgar Square.

Dressed in a blue suit, but not wearing a tie, Mr Johnson looked very much at ease as he waved to the crowds and chatted with participants during the one and a half hour parade.

Due to family commitments Mr Johnson was unable to stay and make a speech, but he spoke exclusively to about his impressions of Pride London.

“It was fantastic,” he said.

“I am going to make sure we support this event.

“It is an amazing tribute to London that people come out and show support. It was fantastic and exciting to take part alongside people of all ages, all races and all sexualities.

“It was almost entirely jubilant.”

Deputy Mayor Richard Barnes, who marched with Mr Johnson, told that while it was unfortunate that the Mayor could not stay to speak to the assembled crowds in Trafalgar Square, he was sure everyone would understand that he needed to spend some time with his wife and children, who are grieving the loss of Sir Charles.

Mr Barnes spoke in his place. In an impassioned speech he said the administration is committed to stamping out homophobic and transphobic violence.

“But we need you to help us,” he told the crowd.

“We need you to report hate crimes.”

Mr Barnes also revealed that he wants World Pride to come to London in 2012, the year the city hosts the Olympic Games.

Later this afternoon Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg and Harriet Harman, the Deputy Leader of the Labour party, will address the crowd in Trafalgar Square.

Thousands took part in the parade and crowds three deep cheered it on as it passed through central London.

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