Miscommunication prevents pride ceremony at Hertsmere

PUBLISHED: 15:12 02 September 2019

Labour holding the Pride flag. Picture: Supplied.

Labour holding the Pride flag. Picture: Supplied.

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A miscommunication prevented a pride ceremony taking place at Hertsmere Borough Council on Friday - but the LGBTQIA+ flag was proudly flying outside the council at the weekend.

The local Labour party has claimed it was prevented from officially marking the flying of the LBTQIA+ rainbow flag.

However acting chief executive Sajida Bijle said Labour councillors organised an event outside the Borehamwood civic offices to mark Herts Pride and booked a committee room in the building afterwards without consulting her.

She reminded them as it was not a council-organised event, the committee room could not be used. "This was both for third party liability insurance reasons and because it did not seem to be in line with recommendations in a recent audit report about the use of council rooms for party political purposes," Ms Bijle said,

Potters Bar Furzfield ward councillor Christian Gray, who is also Hertsmere Labour's LGBTQ+ officer, said this was not a party political event and was open to the whole borough.

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"It was not a party political event. It was just meant to bring all people together to celebrate inclusion and diversity," Cllr Grey said.

"HBC marks lot of other events with official ceremonies like armed forces day, women in sports day, Poppy Day - the list goes on. The only one event missing is Pride."

A spokesperson for Hertsmere Labour said: "Facilities were withdrawn for the reception because the council subsequently said that its public liability insurance did not cover political events. Our own insurance adequately covers all our events and personnel, irrespective of location."

Ms Bijle said she had discussed this with Hertsmere labour leader, Councillor Jeremy Newmark, and explained it is looking to hold a mayoral event for Herts Pride next year for all councillors and staff to attend.

HBC says it flew the flag all week outside of its Borehamood-based council offices in the run up to Hertfordshire Pride and promoted the festival throughout the week.

"As a council we are committed to promoting equality and diversity and we'll continue to promote and support Herts Pride 2019 through our social media channels," a spokeswoman said.

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