Brighton Conservatives’ “shallow” gay pride pledge

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

A motion by the local Brighton and Hove Conservative Party to fly a rainbow flag from council buildings has been met with scepticism in the local authority.

The proposal comes as suspended Tory councillor, Peter Willows, a Hangleton and Knoll ward councillor, is currently being investigated by police over alleged comments labelling gay people as paedophiles, and opposing flying the rainbow flag, a symbol of the gay community, asking “why should any country have to fly a flag because of men sleeping together to have sex?”

The motion expresses solidarity with the International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO), it said: “The council’s solidarity with Idaho has set a welcome precedent for other events to be celebrated in the same manner.

“Festivals from other countries and faiths should also be celebrated with the flying of an appropriate flag.

“Events of considerable local importance should also be marked, for example the LGBT rainbow flag could be flown on the first working day of Pride.”

Labour council leader Simon Burgess told The Argus, “They might like to look at what’s been done in the past as we already fly the rainbow flag for Pride.

“The idea that they are leading calls for the flag to be flown is just not true.

David Harvey, editorial director of 3Sixty, media partners with The Pink News, said: “It is a shallow gesture. The Tories are making the right steps but have to sort out their problems in the group.”

Conservative leader Brian Oxley told The Argus: “The flag motion was something the Conservative group discussed before Cllr Willows made his comments. It is entirely separate from the issue of Cllr Willows.”