London Assembly Members voice cross-party support for UKIP over Pride row

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Members of the London Assembly from across the political spectrum have voiced support for UKIP to be allowed to march at Pride in London.

Organisers of Pride in London originally approved plans for UKIP LGBT+ to take part in the parade on Saturday 27 June,claiming it would not “discriminate” against them.

However, following a backlash from campaigners including Peter Tatchell, the board reversed its decision, citing “safety” concerns if the group were allowed to march.

According to MayorWatch, Green assembly member Darren Johnson, warned organisers against “straying into overt party political judgements”, adding: “[A distinction] needs to be made between UKIP as a whole, which clearly does contain some awful bigoted views, and the UKIP LGBT Group.”

“As long as the latter group upholds the pro-equality principles of Pride like every other organisation taking part, they should not be banned.

“In the years before either Conservatives or Labour adopted pro-equality policies nationally and a number of their MPs routinely made horribly homophobic remarks, their gay campaign groups, quite rightly, were still allowed to march on Pride. The same should apply to UKIP.”

Conservative AM Andrew Boff agreed, tweeting: “It is not the role of pride to stop gay people marching.”

Labour’s Tom Copley added: “I  agree with @DarrenJohnsonAM. LGBT UKIP should be allowed to march at Pride.”

Meanwhile, Lib Dem Caroline Pidgeon said the ban on ‘safety’ ground was a “dubious concept and potentially provides support to foreign authorities that ban LGBT groups from marching at all on such grounds.”

City Hall  provides a large amount of funding for the event – with a grant of £500,000 over a five-year period from the Events for London budget.

Mayor of London Boris Johnson has also said he wants the row “sorted out” so that “everyone” can march.

In a statement sent to PinkNews, he said: “I do not agree at all with this policy.

“I passionately believe in the Pride march and the values of equality it represents and think that all should be allowed to participate.

“I hope this is sorted out as soon as possible.”

UKIP’s Suzanne Evans, Liberal Democrats Tim Farron and Lord Paddick and Conservative MP Nigel Evans all told PinkNews that they disagree with the ban.