Gay Flags Banned In London Borough by Peter Moore 365Gay.com London Bureau Posted: June 6, 2005 12:01 am ET (London) A six month battle between gays and Westminster City Council over the banning of Rainbow flags in London's heavily gay Soho area is reaching the boiling point as Pride celebrations approach. In January Westminster told bars and clubs in Soho to take down the gay flags that fly in front of their establishments. (story) The borough claimed said the flags were ordered down because the clubs had failed to get a permit to have something hanging over the street. But, attempts to get permits have been thwarted. David Boothroyd, a council member and a member of the planning committee, asked council last week to rescind the order but his motion was defeated. “This decision was wrong in planning law, bigoted in practice and gives Westminster council an appalling reputation for insulting the gay community, said Boothroyd. London Mayor Ken Livingstone calls Westminster's actions “completely out of touch with the needs of 21st century London.” LGBT rights group Stonewall accused the council of being petty. "The rainbow flag is an instantly recognizable symbol for lesbians and gay men. It is absurd that the council are once again rejecting a celebratory emblem of gay and lesbian visibility in the heart of London's gay district,” said Stonewall spokesperson Alan Wardle. One of the businesses ordered to remove the flag was the Admiral Duncan pub. In 1999 the gay bar was the scene of a nail bombing. Three people were killed and 73 injured in the attack. A skinhead and self proclaimed fascist was later arrested and convicted in the attack.