The Rainbow Flag was flying at full mast outside Oxford's Town Hall over the weekend in support of the rights of gay and lesbian people during the Winter Olympics.

Councillor Tony Brett, who is in a civil partnership, said: “This is about sending a message to those communities in Russia that we are thinking of them and that we do not approve of human rights abuses.

Labour, Lib Dem and Greens leaders also wrote a joint letter to the mayor or Perm, Oxford’s twin city in Russia, to support the human rights of LGBT people.

Green campaigner Dr Hazel Dawe said: “Nobody deserves to be discriminated against for their sexuality.”