Nick Herbert and Lynne Featherstone address Pride crowds

Jessica Geen July 3, 2010
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Coalition government ministers Nick Herbert and Lynne Featherstone addressed thousands of people in Trafalgar Square for London Pride this afternoon.

Conservative MP Mr Herbert said: “I’m a gay man, I’m an out politician and a I’m a member of parliament.

“In the last parliament, we had just a handful of out gay MPs. Now we have 15 out gay MPs who are mostly Conservatives.

“We also have two lesbians but we need to make sure there are more.”

He added: “Next week, a child will be bullied in school because he or she is gay. Next week, a player will be abused from the terraces because he or she is gay. Next week, a person will be a victim of a hate attack because he or she is gay. We cannot allow that to go on.”

Ms Featherstone, the Liberal Democrat equality minister, said prime minister David Cameron had promised to take action to tackle inequality.

She added: “We will move forward, we will change the world. Equality will rule OK.”

Unlike last year’s speakers Harriet Harman, Chris Bryant and Jeremy Hunt, Mr Herbert and Ms Featherstone were not booed or bottled.

No Labour politicians made speeches, although lesbian MP Angela Eagle told she would have made a speech but was not invited.

She was the only senior Labour figure present at the parade, and said gay MPs Chris Bryant, Stephen Twigg and Ben Bradshaw were unable to attend because they were on constituency business.

Gay group LGBT Labour joined the parade and co-chair James Asser told said his group had enjoyed a “good reaction” from the crowd.

He said: “The Tories have made a big fuss about their MPs being here because they’re not usually here.”

On mayor Boris Johnson’s new-found support for gay marriage, he said: “It’s fantastic.”

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