UK Prime Minister David Cameron has officially refused to attend the Sochi Winter Olympics, but has denied it is a ‘snub’.
Downing Street formally informed Russian diplomats yesterday the Conservative leader will not be attending, but stressed it was not due to the outrage surrounding Russia’s gay propaganda laws.
Instead, Cameron declined the invitation on the grounds there is no precedent for serving prime ministers to attend the Winter Olympics.
Britain will be sending Anne, the Princess Royal and former London Olympics chief Lord Sebastian Coe.
Maria Miller, the Culture Secretary responsible for England and Wales’ gay marriage law, will also be attending as part of the official delegation.
With Cameron not flying over to Russia, very few world leaders will be there in Sochi.
The presidents of France, Germany and the United States have all refused invitations to attend.
But while Barack Obama made headlines for sending gay athletes Billie Jean King, Brian Boitano and Caitlin Cahow to Russia, none of Britain’s members of the delegation are openly LGBTI.
The country will still be making a statement with the BBC sending Clare Balding, a beloved lesbian broadcaster.
Ben Summerskill, chief executive of gay lobbying group Stonewall, said: ‘We are sending Clare Balding and she is a national treasure in much the same way as Billie Jean King is in America.
‘She’ll be broadcasting for the BBC, and I think that sends out quite a strong signal.’