Labour MP Chris Bryant: I am in favour of UK gay bars boycotting Russian vodka

PinkNews logo with white background and rainbow corners

Labour MP Chris Bryant says he is in favour of gay bars in the UK boycotting Russian vodka.

On Wednesday afternoon the Rhondda MP, who is Labour’s shadow immigration minister and Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Russia, tweeted: “It’s time Cameron got tough with Putin over state-sponsored homophobic violence and repression in Russia.

“Cameron could a) stop his MPs sitting with Putin’s in Council of Europe b) urge support for ECHR, to which Russia is signatory.

“Gay and Lesbian bars in UK could boycott Russian vodka, and supporters could urge other bars/hotels to do the same.

“Archbishop of Canterbury could write to Russian Patriarch condemning anti-gay violence and repression.

“Sports bodies could demand assurances about LGBT rights ahead of Sochi winter Olympics.

“Boris Johnson could end the link with Moscow until free LGBT demonstrations are allowed.”

On Wednesday, Stephen Fry urged David Cameron to support moves to strip Russia of the 2014 Winter Olympics because of its homophobic censorship laws. 

In an open letter to the PM, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and Lord Coe, Fry said Russia was “making scapegoats of gay people”.

In response, the government said it was working closely with organisers to ensure the Games were free from discrimination.

A government spokeswoman said Mr Cameron outlined concerns about the growing restrictions on LGBT freedoms in Russia to President Putin at a meeting in Downing Street in June.

“We are working closely with the IOC and the BOA (British Olympic Association) to ensure that the Games take place in the spirit of the Olympic Charter and are free from discrimination,” she added.

In a statement, the IOC said it “respected Mr Fry’s opinion” and the committee was clear that “sport is a human right and should be available to all regardless of race, sex or sexual orientation”.

“The IOC has received assurances from the highest level of government in Russia that the legislation will not affect those attending or taking part in the Games,” a spokeswoman said.

Earlier, Johnny Weir, the openly gay US figure skater told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “To attack Russia is silly. It’s not Russia’s public’s fault that their government is so bigoted and creating so many problems for a minority group”. 

President Obama spoke out against the legislation on NBC’s Tonight Show yesterday evening.

“I have no patience for countries that try to treat gays or lesbians or transgender persons in ways that intimidate them or are harmful to them,” he said.

It was in the best interests of Russia to “make sure the Olympics work”, he added.

Chris Bryant declined to speak to PinkNews about the issue of homophobic oppression in Russia.





Comments (0)

MyPinkNews members are invited to comment on articles to discuss the content we publish, or debate issues more generally. Please familiarise yourself with our community guidelines to ensure that our community remains a safe and inclusive space for all.

Loading Comments