Have mainstream politicians lost Pride?

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

While previous years saw a number of politicians join London’s Pride celebrations, far fewer were in attendance today.

Deputy Mayor of London Richard Barnes and former mayor Ken Livingstone were the most high-profile political faces on the march.

Home Secretary Theresa May attended a reception at the Langham Hotel to meet members of the armed forces, but she did not speak or join the parade.

Peter Tatchell, who was at New York pride last weekend after gay marriage was legalised in the state, said ‘virtually every’ politician from the city was there.

He said: “The absence of politicians sends a very negative signal. It suggests they don’t take LGBT rights seriously.

“Every member of the London assembly should be here.”

When asked whether the political side of Pride may no longer be relevant to many people, he said: “That’s a mistaken view. We still have a ban on same sex civil marriage, the ban on gay and bisexual men donating blood, and our equality laws have religious exemptions. LGBT asylum seekers are still being sent back to countries from which they have fled.”

Ken Livingstone, who joined the front of the parade, said: “It’s not a political event. We’ve got a way to catch up with New York.

“We’ve had a very good turnout [of politicians] in the past but it’s not a political event in that sense.

“The key thing now is for the government to go after the issue of marriage.”

On LGBTory’s call for him to be banned from Pride
, he said: “They should save their party politics for the election. I was fighting for gay rights when they were voting for section 28.”