Nigel Evans: I would proudly march alongside UKIP at Pride

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

Conservative MP Nigel Evans writes for PinkNews to explain why he supports UKIP’s right to march at Pride in London.

When I spoke with my good friend and former UKIP Parliamentary candidate Richard Hendron last week he was quite excited that UKIP’s leadership had given the green light backed up with a small budget in order that UKIP members who support LGBT issues were able to fully participate in this years Pride event in London on June 27th.

His joy turned somewhat sour to me last night in a telephone conversation where he was dismayed that the high command of Pride had done a U-turn and rejected their application on the grounds of safety for all others and Marshals directing the march.

I am pretty dismayed myself. As a Conservative supporter my own Party has been somewhat slow in embracing LGBT issues over decades, and indeed it has only been with the Leadership of David Cameron that my Party has been fast forwarded on a journey that still leaves some Tory supporters bewildered and angry.

I clearly reject UKIP policies on a number of areas, and totally reject the tone of their presentation, but Pride is the coming together of peoples of all persuasions in order to celebrate diversity of life, and the equality of all.

It is a display of understanding and acceptance. It is about everyone being different and alike and yet united in embracing the differences as a strength of the human race.

There will be peoples of all religions represented and yet the leadership of most of them range from begrudging acceptance to downright hostility.

I am thrilled to see these religions represented during Pride and I support their internal struggle for change within their leaderships.

I certainly would not ban them. They are already pariahs in their own organisations and we should be holding out the hand of friendship not the two fingers of rejection.

UKIP had over four million votes at the last election. They won the European Elections. They are represented in Parliament, The EU Parliament and councils throughout the country.

They even have an openly gay MEP in David Coburn. As some one who spends my time fighting them and their ideology I respect the level of support that they have.

I would proudly walk alongside UKIP members during the Pride March as a gesture of solidarity. As a recognition that LGBT UKIP will shape the direction of their Party and will have exactly the same resentment and animosity as Tories have had in the distant and quite recent past.

I reject the notion that there could be any trouble from LGBT UKIP marchers, and if any other marchers do anything other than applaud their bravery and right to march then Pride organisers should question their place on the march.

This shouldn’t be a big thing. It is quickly turning into one.

Lets get back to the ideals of the march which gels so many different and disparate people and groups into a rainbow display of love and struggle, of equality and difference, of pride in who we all are.

Discrimination has no place in Pride.

Let’s all march together on the 27th June and support all who take part. No bans, no prejudice and no qualifications. We are one so let’s show it!

Nigel Evans is the Conservative MP for Ribble Valley.
As with all comment, this does not necessarily reflect the views of PinkNews.