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London to officially support St Patrick but not St George

London is to stage officially supported celebrations of St Patrick's Day next year.

Mayor Ken Livingstone has been to Dublin to discuss how to make the capital's celebrations a success.

But St George's Day will pass unnoticed because Mr Livingstone claims the Saint was a corrupt bureaucrat.

Mick Mulcahy, Dublin's Lord Mayor said Dublin's Fire Brigade band will be in London to lead the St Patrick's Day parade.

Mr Livingstone added his plan was to unify the various St Patrick's Day parades which have previously been held in different parts of London into one event.

Mr Livingstone said people of Irish descent still represents the largest ethnic minority in London and that the St Patrick's Day parade might become a Notting Hill-style carnival, but with shamrocks and Guinness.

Disparaging England's patron saint, he said: "He was actually a bureaucrat involved in some pretty corrupt practices in the Roman Empire and that is the sad truth of it. There are no dragons - there are an awful lot of snouts in the trough."

However, it is believed the mayor may have been confusing the saint with an ignoble version presented in Gibbon's Decline and Fall, in which George is portrayed as dealing in black market bacon and rising to power as a Primate of Egypt before being arrested and thrown into the sea.