Gay equality on the agenda at party conferences

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Over the next fortnight, three seaside resorts will brace themselves for an influx of MPs, political activists and journalists as the party conference season gets underway.

These tribal gatherings are a perfect opportunity to lobby politicians, and to that end gay equality organisation Stonewall will be holding a series of fringe meetings, which are open to all.

“If you live near Brighton, Bournemouth or Blackpool or are attending the conferences in any capacity please join us at one or more of our fringe meetings,” said a Stonewall spokesperson.

“Drinks will be served before and after each meeting.”

The Liberal Democrat conference starts on Sunday in Brighton, and their gay group DELGA will be hosting a joint fringe meeting with Stonewall on Monday 17th September, entitled ‘Delivering for 21st Century Britain.’

The event is being held in the Belgrave Hotel Brighton and starts at 6pm.

The Lib Dem spokesperson on equality, Jo Swinson MP, will speak along with Bristol West MP Stephen Williams.

The Labour party will gather for its first conference with Gordon Brown as leader in the seaside town of Bournemouth from 23rd to 27th September.

LGBT Labour will hold a joint fringe meeting with Stonewall at the Wessex Hotel on Tuesday 25th, starting at 6pm.

Entitled ‘Equality for the next decade,’ the event will be addressed by Angela Eagle MP, Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, Equalities Minister Barbara Follett MP and Alan Or-bach, LGBT Labour Co-Chair.

Finally the Conservative party will gather in Blackpool from September 30th to October 3rd.

A fringe meeting entitled ‘Gay people under a Conservative Government’ will be held on Tuesday 2nd October in the Claremont Hotel, Blackpool, beginning at 12.30pm.

Daily Telegraph journalist Andrew Pierce will chair the event, and Nick Herbert MP, recently appointed to the frontbench as Shadow Secretary of State for Justice will speak, as will prospective parliamentary candidates Margot James and Jane Ellison.

Stonewall chief executive Ben Summerskill will speak at all three events.

The organisation will also be co-hosting the Absolutely Equal reception at each conference.

Absolutely Equal, generously supported by Barclays, is a joint event between Stonewall, the Commission for Racial Equality, the Disability Rights Commission, the Equal Opportunities Commission and Equal Rights on Age.

This year the receptions will be addressed by Lib Dem leader Sir Menzies Campbell, Secretary of State for Equality Harriet Harman and Shadow Leader of the House of Commons Theresa May.

(Please note that given the location of the Absolutely Equal events, conference passes will be required for access to the secure zone.)