The meeting, which is free to all members of the public, will be addressed by Euro candidates for London from the main parties:
Jonathan Fryer – Guardian writer and broadcaster – Liberal Democrat Candidate
An academic at SOAS and an expert on international affairs, he writes for the Guardian and is a broadcaster for the BBC. He is also an out gay man, and a biographer of Oscar Wilde.
Mary Honeyball – Labour MEP
Labour member of the European Parliament for London since 2000. Staunch supporter of human rights, particularly women’s rights in Europe. Campaigns for a separation of religion and politics and is a prominent supporter of the British Humanist Association.
Jean Lambert- Green Party MEP
Jean has worked on many campaigns and has a strong record in relation to LGBT Rights and Human Rights. She is also a prominent member of the Lesbian and Gay Intergroup. Has previously spoken at IDAHO events.
Warwick Lightfoot – Conservative candidate
The Conservative party member of our panel has served as Mayor of Kensington and Chelsea, Special Advisor to the then Chancellor of the Exchequer and has 20 years experience as a councillor.
The European Elections which are being held in the UK on June 4th will be the most important yet for gay men, lesbians and transgender people. Apart from the vital economic issues that the EU has to address, Europe has become a battleground in the war of ideas between the supporters and the opponents of gay equality. Key issues voted on by the European Parliament recently have included:
- The principle of equal treatment between persons irrespective of religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation
- Calling for more persistent implementation of equality legislation across the EU
Expressing concern at the rise of extremist parties motivated by hatred and prejudices, including homophobia
- Call for greater action against racist and homophobic violence
Each of these was passed against substantial opposition from MEPs hostile to gay rights
At the same time there are specific threats to gay people, and other minorities.
- Far right parties, traditionally anti-gay, stand to gain ground. In particular if there is the usual pitiful turnout in the UK then there is a high risk that the BNP could win seats for the first time, including in London
- The Catholic Church, and other religious organisations with a homophobic record have been lobbying to increase their influence
- The situation for gay people remains bleak in many of the Eastern European EU countries. Pressure from the EU is playing a vital role in encourage these countries to improve their poor record in protecting gay rights
There will be an opportunity to put your questions to the speakers.