LGBTory, the Conservative LGBT group, today called for Ken Livingstone to be banned from this weekend’s London Pride unless he repudiates his close friendships with those renowned for their extreme views and barbaric treatment against gay men and women.
LGBTory argues that Labour’s London mayoral candidate Mr Livingstone’s presence at Pride threatens to undermine the core values of the march which has done so much to promote LGBT equality in the capital and as an example to other cities and countries.
The LGBT campaigning group argues that Mr Livingstone is using the high-profile event in a hypocritical attempt to portray himself in the eyes of the wider public as an advocate on LGBT equality.
But they point out that in reality his personal record on this is shameful.
He earned thousands of pounds working for Iranian-state television – Press TV – putting him on the payroll of a regime well-known for its barbaric treatment of gay men and women. The penalty for homosexuality in Iran is death, while leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad claims there are no gay people in Iran.
He repeatedly defends and endorses banned Muslim cleric Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, who supports female genital mutilation and the death penalty for gays and lesbians. In 2004, while Mayor, Mr Livingstone invited al-Qaradawi to City Hall as a ‘guest of honour’ of Londoners despite the cleric’s repugnant views. Mr Livingstone continues to defend the cleric, as recently as March 2011, and describes him as a ‘progressive’.
His close friendship and unstinting support of Tower Hamlets mayor Lutfur Rahman. Rahman’s friends repeatedly and openly abuse gay councillors at public meetings in Tower Hamlets, while his friends at the East London Mosque host the likes of SRE Islamic –a group who campaign over ‘the unacceptability of homosexuality which is often portrayed as a lifestyle choice’
The Chairman of LGBTory, Matthew Sephton, said: “Mr Livingstone’s record on LGBT equality is shameful, proved time and time again by his close friendships with barbaric, anti-gay regimes and repugnant characters who believe homosexuality is not only a crime but that gay people should be killed. He should not be allowed to hi-jack and exploit this weekend’s parade and risk undermining core values of such Pride events unless he ditches his links with such regimes and unsavoury characters.”