Lord Michael Cashman.
Labour leader Ed Miliband says Lord Michael Cashman will serve as the party’s LGBT rights envoy – at a time when LGBT rights “are going backwards” abroad.
Mr Miliband made the announcement this afternoon in his speech to the Labour Party Conference in Manchester.
“We’ve made extraordinary progress on lesbian and gay rights over the last 20 years. When I think about the transformations, growing up into adulthood? It’s the biggest transformation,” Mr Miliband said.
“We’ve made such progress on equality. But we have to face the fact that internationally things, if anything, are going backwards.
“We can’t just let that happen. We can’t just say that’s okay. The next Labour government will fight to make sure that we fight for our values and human rights all around the world.”
The Labour leader said Lord Cashman would stand up for LGBT rights abroad.
“So today I can announce that I am appointing Michael Cashmann, Lord Cashmann, as our envoy on LGBT rights all around the world.”
It would mean that the gay peer would become a diplomat to the UK Government – if Labour wins next year’s general election.
In August, he was elevated to the House of Lords.
At the time, Lord Cashman told PinkNews.co.uk: “It’s a huge and humbling honour, and if anything it just brings me closer to my roots, closer to where I began. I just wish my old Mum and Dad were alive to witness it.
Former Prime Minister Tony Blair personally congratulated Lord Cashman for his long service to politics and LGBT rights at a central London reception earlier this summer.
The peer is a highly-regarded figure in the Labour Party.
A video tribute from all four surviving Labour leaders, Ed Miliband, Gordon Brown, Tony Blair and Neil Kinnock, was played out in front of the former MEP who was visibly moved by the testimony.
Lord Cashman co-founded gay rights charity Stonewall in 1989.
Before going into politics Michael Cashman had long been a household name.
As a child actor he was cast in the role of Oliver Twist in the original run of Lionel Bart’s musical Oliver!
However, he is possibly best known for his role as Colin Russell in the BBC’s long-running soap Eastenders.
His character is best remembered for taking part in the first ever same-sex kiss in a British soap.