Foreign Secretary: ‘Watch this space’ the UK may have openly gay stars in its Sochi delegation

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In a TV interview Foreign Secretary William Hague says Britain will continue urging Russia to protect LGBT rights and has suggested that openly gay sports stars could be included in the UK’s Olympic delegation.

Yesterday, when asked on Sky News’ Murnaghan programme if the UK would be following the lead of the United States in including openly gay members in its Olympic delegation, Mr Hague told presenter Dermot Murnaghan: “Well lets…all this will become clear over the next few weeks. Watch this space.”

However, a Foreign Office source was later keen to play down suggestions that this meant Britain would send a high profile gay athlete or celebrity to the Sochi Games.

In December, US President Barack Obama named Billie Jean King, Olympic ice hockey player Caitlin Cahow and Olympic figure Brian Boitano as part of America’s delegation to the Winter Olympics.

All three individuals are openly gay and have spoken out against Russia’s anti-gay laws.

Attempting to dismiss concerns about LGBT athletes attending February’s Winter Olympics, President Putin in November declared he was against “hatred” towards people of a “non-traditional sexual orientation” – whilst continuing to support the country’s homophobic legislation.

Asked to comment about the laws, Mr Hague said: “Well this is a point that we have made very strongly as you say the Prime Minister has raised it, we’ve raised it at many levels. There’s no doubt in Russia at all about what we think about these matters. And we will be very clear about that throughout [when] making decisions about our delegation to Sochi.

“But there is no doubt whatsoever in the minds of the Russians how strongly the United Kingdom stands up for LGBT rights and we will continue to make that very clear.”

In December, PinkNews revealed that Sports Minister Helen Grant plans to attend the Winter Olympics – although Prime Minister David Cameron will not.