Clarity on the Council’s role in Pride

I am aware that posters are appearing in various venues across the City quoting me as saying that I will somehow adjudicate between rival bids to run the Pride Festival for 2011. I want to be quite clear about this – it is not the Council’s role to judge between competing bids or to take sides in any way. I shall be facilitating a cross-party meeting of stakeholders to try and resolve differences and I am more than happy to help in any way to ensure Pride goes ahead. But I reiterate, this is a community event and it is ultimately for the community to decide how their event should run. Just for complete clarity, below is the text of the letter I recently had published in the Argus and GScene:

“The emergence of an alternative bid for Pride has led sectors of the LGBT community to pressure Brighton and Hove City Council to “take a decision” in regard to next year’s event. I feel I need to clear up exactly what the council’s role in any event would be.

Pride is a community celebration, run by a charitable organisation and benefits the entire city. It has never been a council-run event and I think it should remain that way. This means we will not make any decision between competing ideas. As with any proposed event, the council merely considers issues such as licensing health and safety, planning and similar technical issues on a case-by-case basis.

In this case, the council’s role is also to unlock the potential for joint working between the various groups who have mutual interests. Pride is the biggest event in the social calendar and brings more business into the city than any similar occasion, as well as giving Brighton and Hove a global platform. More importantly, it provides an opportunity for the LGBT community to come together and celebrate.

For the sustained future of the event, the reputation of the city and the cohesion of the LGBT community, I would urge all parties to work together. There remains enough experience and spirit amongst the LGBT community to enable this and to this end I am happy to broker a meeting of interested parties, including opposition councillors and officers, to identify a way forward.”

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