UKIP to march in London’s Pride parade for the first time
The UK Independence Party’s LGBT group will be allowed to march in London’s annual Pride parade for the first time.
The official line-up released by Pride in London revealed that UKIP LGBT+ will take part in this summer’s parade, on Saturday 27 June.
The party has never before applied to march officially, and the move has generated some controversy due to the party’s stance on LGBT rights issues.
UKIP was the only UK-wide parties to pledge an anti-LGBT policy at the election, with the party’s Christian Manifesto – which was not released to the press – calling for a ‘conscience’ law to weaken equality legislation, and accommodate the beliefs of people who oppose gay rights.
The group will be marching in the same block as HIV charity Positively UK – despite Nigel Farage coming under intense scrutiny for making claims about HIV during the election campaign. He claimed during the BBC leadership debate that the UK is now “incapable” of treating Britons with HIV.
A petition calling for their application to march to be denied says: “Nigel Farage, leader of UKIP, clearly does not support the values of acceptance that Pride promotes, and UKIP is an inherently homophobic, transphobic, xenophobic, racist and misogynistic political party.
“UKIP’s inclusion in Pride has already caused public outcry and many have stated they would feel unhappy and unsafe to have a UKIP group included in Pride 2015’s march, being that they are from an organisation that inherently does not support the values of acceptance and inclusion that Pride promotes.
“Please remove UKIP from the parade line up.”
Pride in London already blocks branches of far-right parties including the BNP and EDL.
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An email leaked to PinkNews shows that Pride in London are worried about the “growing concern” at UKIP’s involvement.
Writing to the organiser of the group, a member of Pride in London staff said: “We have a growing number of people who are anti the UKIP LGBT+ group being part of the Parade (I know, being discriminating but that’s the lovely general public for you) and hoped you could issue a statement to us please saying that you don’t agree with your parties view on the LGBT+ community etc.
“Also, could you post the same statement on your Facebook group please?”
Some have joked about the party’s positioning on the alphabetised list – right next to the UK Gay & Lesbian Immigration Group.
Farage was accused of “ducking” gay rights issues by pulling out of a planned Q&A with PinkNews ahead of the election, making him the only party leader to not take part.
David Cameron, Ed Miliband, Nick Clegg, Natalie Bennett and Nicola Sturgeon all answered questions from PinkNews readers – but Mr Farage refused to do so.
PinkNews has reached out to Pride in London and UKIP LGBT+ for comment.
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