Pride in London’s Chair has defended the organisation’s decision not to let UKIP’s LGBT group march in this month’s parade, but has admitted he’s found the level of “outrage, anger” and “hypocrisy” from some part so of the LGBT community difficult.
Appearing on London Live last week (June 11), Michael Salter said the decision had been a “difficult” one because “Pride is an inclusive event, and all of us on the board also believe in free speech,” but that it had been made to “protect the safety of participants”.
“We have a paramount duty to the protection and welfare of our volunteers,” Mr Salter said.
“Pride cannot take place unless we have 6 to 700 volunteers who are happy to turn up, who feel capable in the roles that they’ve been trained to do. If the stewards are a little bit nervous about the reaction to any group in the parade and they start not turning up then it actually puts into jeopardy the bigger picture of Pride itself.”
“Personally I found it very difficult at times in this process to see the level of outrage, anger and hypocrisy in part from members of the LGBT community.
But when you’ve got people who are threatening to do sit in and disrupt the parade, to turn up with all sorts of unmentionable revolting things to chuck at another group, people who are threatening intimidation and violence – I don’t look at this and think, “well what’s going to happen to the UKIP group”.
“I don’t think about the people who are going to or say whatever they want to do towards the UKIP group, I just think about the volunteers.”
He added: “This wasn’t about [UKIP’s] politics or policies. That is a much bigger debate, and as a community interest company we are not making decisions based on politics. We are making a decision on how we can best to run an event which is safe and enjoyable.”
Over the weekend Nigel Farage hit out against the decision not to let UKIP march in the parade, joining figures such as Katie Hopkins and London Mayor Boris Johnson in voicing his disapproval of the ban.
UKIP LGBT+ previously expressed their disappointment at having their invitation revoked, describing it as a “sad day for diversity and freedom” on the group’s official Facebook page.