Nick Clegg will choose the launch of gay World Pride Day today to warn that the forces of fear, division and bigotry will become more persuasive to young people in times of economic hardship.
After a rainbow flag – the symbol of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender pride – flew above the Cabinet Offices in Whitehall yesterday, Mr Clegg is due to speak at Stonewall's young people's Pride Brunch this morning.
He will address people aged 16 to 21 from across the country who have volunteered with the charity Stonewall, and members of gay youth groups and other youths who have experienced homophobia.
"We meet in difficult times. For many of you this is your first real experience of trouble in the economy," Mr Clegg is expected to say. "I've lived through a few of these and I can tell you it can be dangerous for a society. The forces of division – fear, chauvinism, bigotry – become more persuasive in times of hardship. Our task is countering those forces."