Pride in London reconsidering allowing UKIP to march in parade
Organisers of Pride in London are now reconsidering allowing UKIP to march at the event, citing safety concerns.
Earlier this week it was announced that 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.
Many, including human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell, have voiced opposition to UKIP’s participation at Pride in London.
It is understood that ‘sit-ins’ or other direct action has been threatened in order to disrupt the parade, and organisers are consulting with sponsors over the issue.
PinkNews has obtained a copy of a statement sent to the Pride in London board from the UKIP pride contingent, which says that allowing UKIP to march is “a great and historic moment” for the group.
Saying the party’s National Executive Committee gave full backing for the LGBT group’s participation, it reads: “UKIP is at its heart a libertarian party, a party that believes in freedom from the state, a party that believes in respect and not hate. Its also a party that is not shy to discuss sensitive issues, such as immigration and health tourism.”
The full statement is available to read below
Marching in pride London this June will be the first time that UKIP has participated in an LGBT event. It is a great and historic moment for us, especially as it was given the full backing of National Executive Committee. UKIP is at its heart a libertarian party, a party that believes in freedom from the state, a party that believes in respect and not hate. Its also a party that is not shy to discuss sensitive issues, such as immigration and health tourism. It is perhaps our willingness to discuss such sensitive issues, sometimes and regrettably with members occasionally lacking tact, decorum and judgement, that has led some to perceive UKIP, especially in the LGBT community in a negative light. Yes, its correct to say that UKIP did not support Gay marriage, however we would not want it repealed now. Our lack of support was not found on the basis of any anti gay sentiment, but rather our libertarian values, namely the desire to protect religious institutions from potentially being required by the European Court to conduct same sex marry against their religious beliefs. Thankfully that has not happened and we are now fully in support of Gay marriage. Off course there are biggots in UKIP, as there are in all other political parties or large organisations. UKIP should not be defined by the actions of a few, as they are not representative of the wider party. With the inclusion of UKIP in the London Pride event this will give greater confidence to our UKIP LGBT members but it will also be a fantastic opportunity to show case many of our openly Gay candidates and MEPS while promoting equality for all and showcasing UKIP as the party that it is, a libertarian party that believes in inclusion, respect and equality.
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.”
Pride in London already blocks branches of far-right parties including the BNP and EDL.