EXCLUSIVE: Boris looking forward to his Pride debut

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“Huge responsibility but wonderful fun” is how the Mayor of London described his job when he met with PinkNews.co.uk yesterday afternoon, just before he hosted a reception for Pride London at City Hall.

As the great and the good of the capital’s gay community gathered, a slightly knackered Boris Johnson took a few minutes to talk to us about Pride funding, his campaign for Mayor and how long he intends to run Europe’s largest city.

Since taking over from Ken Livingstone at the start of May, Boris has banned alcohol on the tubes and buses, ordered an investigation into the London Development Agency, appointed a string of deputy Mayors and changed the Rise Festival’s theme from anti-racism to cultural and community diversity.

He will be taking part in this year’s Pride London parade on Saturday, his first ever gay event, which he said he was “very much looking forward to.”

PinkNews.co.uk: Should we be concerned that Pride funding might be cut?

I’m generally in favour of delivering value, but one thing I said throughout the campaign and indeed since the campaign and since election is that I want to make sure that celebrations of London’s different communities go ahead and we’re going to make sure that happens.

I understand that you wouldn’t want to make any specific financial commitments but in principle, you’re saying you support it?

Yeah, yeah absolutely that’s why I’m going along on Saturday.

Looking back, what was the high point and low point of your campaign?

There were some good moments! I normally keep a diary but I didn’t keep a diary for the campaign because I was just so busy.

It’s become a kind of mad blur.

There was some, you know, it was great fun but the truth is the blessed sponge of amnesia has wiped it.

All I remember now is just endless hustings with Livingstone.

You probably don’t remember then, but you ran against a guy called Brian Paddick. You said that you were going to offer him a role in your administration. Did you?

I was on the point of thinking about it when he issued a statement that there was absolutely no need for me to waste the price of a phone call on ringing him up, so I decided to shelve that one.

But I assume you wish him well.

Oh God, I wish him well, yes.

He was a very patient with a very civilised adversary and I thought actually he was incredibly brave – what I’m trying to say is that I think he did a great thing for gay politicians. He flew the flag in a very powerful and effective way.

During the campaign, you said no mayor should serve more than two terms. Are you at this stage willing to make the same statement about yourself?

I certainly am yeah!

For more information about Pride London click here.