The directors of Pride in London have reversed their decision to invite political party UKIP to the parade, following days of debate about their participation.

A Pride in London spokesperson said:

‘Over the last few days we, both as individuals and the volunteer Directors of Pride, have had to wrestle with a difficult issue, whether to include a group from UKIP in this year’s Pride in London Parade.  We are first and foremost a group from the LGBT+ community, who – as unpaid volunteers – run the event for the LGBT+ community.  That is why we are called London LGBT+ Community Pride (LLCP).  We aim to unite our community, not divide it, and our intention is to serve the whole of our community with an inclusive event, so to exclude any group is not a decision we take lightly.

‘For this year we have reached the decision that UKIP’s application to join the Pride in London Parade, 27 June 2015, will be turned down.  This decision has been made after careful consultation in order to protect participants and ensure the event passes off safely and in the right spirit, it has not been made on a political basis.  We appreciate many in our community have strongly held views about UKIP, their policies and comments, but is undeniable that there are LGBT+ members of UKIP, including their MEP for Scotland, and it is important to remember that Pride in London aims to be an inclusive event.  However, of paramount concern to us is the experience of all participants at Pride, most especially the position we would be putting our volunteer stewards in.

‘The Board of Directors will be asking the Community Advisory Board to specifically look at the issue of inclusion in advance of the 2016 event, to assess criteria for Parade entrants and consider whether a new framework is required that is better able to balance the desire of members of the LGBT+ community to participate in Pride with comments made or policies adopted by the organisations they represent (which could include, but is not limited to: charities, NGOs, companies, Trade Unions and Political Parties).’

In light of this decision by the Board of London Pride 2015 to rescind their invitation to the LGBT+ members of UKIP to take part in this year’s Pride celebrations, Flo Lewis, the Chair of LGBT+ in UKIP said:

‘The Board of London Pride 2015 have not decided to reject our application. Instead they have decided to rescind the invitation under threats from and complaints by other members of the LGBT* community.

‘We should, I think, be very sorry that this decision has been made, equally we are sorry that the organizing committee and Board of London Pride 2015 has been put under the sort of pressure it has over the past few days.

‘All people, regardless of creed, colour or sexual orientation, can find a home in UKIP. It is a sad day for diversity and freedom when these people are prohibited from expressing their selves as part of the wider community.’