Angela Eagle MP announced as Liverpool gay pride patron

Zoran Blackie and Angela Eagle MP
Image caption Stanley Street is recognised as Liverpool's official gay quarter

Former Government minister Angela Eagle is to be the first patron of Liverpool Pride.

The annual festival, which celebrates Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) culture, takes place in the city on Saturday.

The Wallasey MP said she was "proud" to be the official patron and hoped that being an openly homosexual public figure would help other people.

She said Liverpool was a "colourful, vibrant and accepting place".

Ms Eagle will give a speech and lead a march through the city centre which starts at William Brown Street at 12:00 BST and ends at Liverpool's Pier Head.

She added: "Liverpool Pride does so much to celebrate the diversity in communities across Merseyside.

"It also works to tear down barriers, stand up for rights and insist on equality for LGBT people."

'Inspirational figure'

The festival, which attracted more than 44,000 people last year, will feature a parade and events at Stanley Street Quarter and Liverpool Pier Head - where X Factor Star, Marcus Collins will perform.

Ms Eagle was elected as the first Labour MP for Wallasey in 1992 and has since been re-elected four times.

She served as a government minister under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown and is now Shadow Leader of the House of Commons.

Chair of Liverpool Pride Zoran Blackie said: "Liverpool Pride is honoured that such an inspirational figure within the campaign for the rights of LGBT people in this country is willing to stand with us in recognising and supporting the needs of our community.

"I am delighted that she will be helping us to lead the march through Liverpool city centre, as she represents what we are all about - our LGBT community making a difference in our city and showing us off to the country."

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