Nick Clegg has hailed the start of a "new era of pride" as the rainbow flag was raised in Whitehall for the first time.

The Deputy Prime Minister said flying the flag, a symbol of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender pride, to coincide with London's gay pride event this weekend was a "small but important emblem".

It comes after Mr Clegg called on Thursday for churches and other religious premises to be allowed to host gay weddings.

He said: "There has to be a first time for everything - flying this iconic flag in the heart of Whitehall is a small but important emblem that the Government and this country are behind equal rights.

"I'm absolutely delighted that, with a little bit of persuasion and determination, we've been able to fly the rainbow flag for this weekend's festivities. I hope this is the start of a new era of pride across the historic Whitehall village."