London Assembly launches World Pride inquiry

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The London Assembly has launched an investigation into the financial failure of this year’s World Pride.

July’s event had to be heavily scaled back after the organisers, Pride London, were forced to admit to a cash crisis just days before it was due to take place.

On the day of World Pride, floats and other motorised vehicles were banned from taking part in the central London parade and several World Pride parties in Soho were axed.

Pride London’s chair Dr Patrick Williams resigned as a result of the fiasco in the same month.

In the days prior, a last-minute financial rescue by Gaydar and Smirnoff to restore the original plans failed.

London Mayor Boris Johnson’s subsequent decision to cancel his appearance at the event caused widespread anger.

Trade union groups, LGBT campaigners and several of the capital’s assembly members had urged the mayor’s office to provide emergency financial support to World Pride.

Human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell, who helped organise London’s first pride event in 1972, alleged that Mr Johnson’s office had tried to ban him from speaking at the event, and also accused the mayor’s office of choosing not to rescue World Pride.

A spokesman for Mr Johnson denied Mr Tatchell’s claims and pointed out how the mayor’s office had already provided Pride London with £100,000.

As part of its investigation, the Greater London Authority Oversight Committee will look at the role of the organisers, Mr Johnson’s involvement in World Pride and the impact on London’s reputation of scaling back the event.

Labour AM Len Duvall who is also chair of the GLA Oversight Committee said:

“Instead of being proud to host World Pride in 2012, London was left with the embarrassment of a much reduced event surrounded by confusion and an apparent lack of careful financial monitoring.

He added “Our investigation will look at what went wrong and, more importantly, how such fiascos can be avoided in the future.

“We must be sure that when the mayor puts taxpayers’ cash and the city’s reputation on the line risks are minimised.”