Boris Johnson to lead London Pride parade again

Jessica Geen July 2, 2010
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Mayor of London Boris Johnson will reprise his role at the head of London’s Pride parade tomorrow.

Mr Johnson led the march in 2008, but was unable to attend the event last year.

One million people are expected to join tomorrow’s celebration, which is the UK’s biggest LGBT event. understands Mr Johnson will not be able to appear at the main stage at 3pm for speeches but has rearranged his diary to join the march.

Instead, his deputy, transport advisor Kulveer Ranger, will be one of the speakers in Trafalgar Square.

Mr Johnson said in a statement: “This weekend, the streets of London will be thronged with people from all walks of life taking part in one of the most highly anticipated events of the year. I am pleased to support our city’s Pride celebrations and proud of London’s reputation as a place where you can be yourself.

“From poet laureates to politicians and pop stars to rugby players, there’s an increasing confidence to be open about your sexuality. Nowhere is this more evident than in London, which is home to one of the largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans communities in the world.

“Everybody has the right to live their life as they wish, free from persecution and abuse, and my office is working with the community, the police and other partners to ensure that irrespective of your sexuality all Londoners are able to participate fully in the life of the capital.”

Mr Johnson recently scrapped the annual Pride reception at City Hall in favour of “community receptions” which focus on areas of London rather than social groups. He promised the events would include LGBT people.

Other politicians appearing at the event will be gay Tory minister Nick Herbert and Liberal Democrat equality minister Lynne Featherstone.

Last year, prime minister Gordon Brown’s wife Sarah joined the march. Her successor, Samantha Cameron, is heavily pregnant and is not expected to attend.

Mr Herbert and Ms Featherstone will join the march and speak at Trafalgar Square afterwards.

The event celebrates 40 years since the founding of the Gay Liberation Front.

Although not the first gay organisation in the UK, the GLF is hailed as a turning point in gay activists and former members such as Peter Tatchell, Andrew Lumsden and Alan Wakeman are to march at the front of the parade.

The parade begins at Wigmore Street at 1pm tomorrow, passing through Oxford Street and Regent Street and ending at Whitehall.

After the march, acts on the main stage in Trafalgar Square will include Sonique and Same Difference, while gay club Fire will host a dance stage in Leicester Square, instead of Soho, where it is usually held.

Fire safety concerns mean there will be crowd controls in Soho, with a small street party area.

An afterparty is to be held at Koko in Camden.

Pride spokesman Colm Howard-Lloyd told that weather forecasts for the day are said to be excellent and the event expects to see around a million visitors.

He added: “Last year, we hit the million mark. This year, we expect a similar number.”

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