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New Doncaster mayor grilled over Pride funding cut

Anish Bhavsar June 10, 2009
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The new mayor of Doncaster, who vowed to cut funding for the town’s annual Pride, has been forced to admit he has no idea how much revenue it generates.

Peter Davies, an English Democrat who was elected last week, was grilled on his controversial policies in an interview with BBC Radio Sheffield on Monday.

He has also said he will cut back on “politically correct” jobs such as diversity officers and reduce funding for translation services for non-English speakers.

Struggling to competently answer presenter Toby Foster’s questions, he squirmed when asked about the contribution Doncaster Pride makes to the town’s economy.

Foster said: “So how much did… how much was it worth to Doncaster?”

Davies said: “How…er, what?”

Clarifying, Foster replied: “The gay Pride march. Eight thousand people in town for a day.”

Davies said: “I don’t know. They can still come. There’s nobody stopping them coming.”

Foster continued: “So you don’t know what it costs, you don’t know what it earns, but you’re banning it?”

Scrambling for an answer, Davies said: “I’m saying that… hard-pressed taxpayers’ money should not be spent on promoting any type of sexuality whether it’s straight or gay.”

Foster argued: “But for all you – but for all you know it could be making a fortune for the town – you don’t know, you’ve not even looked at it.”

Appearing to abandon the argument, Davies said: “Well, it, er… it may, it may or it may not, I’m telling you what I’m not doing, and again it was on the manifesto, it was quite clear people appeared to like what I was saying.”

Davies is a member of the English Democrat party, which proposes to end multiculturalism and political correctness. He was quizzed about the promise in his manifesto to cut translation services for non-English speakers and when asked whether this was illegal, his response was: “I dunno….again, I’ve got to find this out.”

Pressing his point, Foster said the plan was illegal under human rights laws, adding: “So what was the point of your manifesto? You might as well have said you were going to fly to the moon if you’re just going to say now that you can’t do it.”

After more grilling on the likelihood of jobs being lost as a result of his policies, Davies said: “Okay, I’m stopping this interview, it’s a complete waste of time, er, you’re not asking any sensible questions, and er, I really don’t want to continue.” He then apparently hung up.

Davies was due to appear on Gay Radio UK this morning but pulled out, saying he was too busy. His office would not confirm whether the interview was to be rescheduled.

Instead, it released a statement from him saying: “I must be very clear that my party and I are not homophobic or racist or hold any extremist views. The English Democrats believe that public money should not be spent on parades that promote one section of society. That doesn’t mean to say that the English Democrats are against homosexuals as we most certainly are not and we will be delighted to see the gay and lesbian community in Doncaster.”

Click here to listen to the BB Radio Sheffield interview, which starts at 01:57.

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