LGBT Labour raise a record £25,000 to support LGBT candidates

Besi Besemar April 14, 2015

LGBT Labour has raised a record £25,000 to support openly lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans(LGBT) candidates at the general election on May 7.

Picture shows (from l to r): LGBT Labour co-chair Cllr Bev Craig; LGBT Labour patron Lord Michael Cashman; Labour’s first trans candidate and parliamentary candidate for Sutton & Cheam Emily Brothers; parliamentary candidate for Arundel Cllr Chris Wellbelove. the first openly gay MP and patron of LGBT Labour, Lord Chris Smith.

THE Chris Smith List, established in 2009, is a fund created to support LGBT candidates standing for Parliament. The fund is named after Lord Smith of Finsbury, who, in 1984 made history as one of the first ever parliamentarians to come out as gay.

He continued to make history as the first ever openly-gay cabinet minister in 1997 and in 2005 announced he was HIV-positive, the only MP ever to do so.

Since its creation The Chris Smith List has distributed £40,000 to openly-LGBT candidates across the country standing in general elections, London Assembly and European elections.

35 openly-LGBT candidates (including nine sitting MPs seeking re-election) will be on the ballot for the Labour Party on May 7, with the £25,000 being distributed to 26 seats with new candidates, including nine standing in seats on Labour’s 106 target list.

The last Labour government saw monumental strides toward equality for LGBT people in Britain from the repeal of Section 28 to introducing protections at work, adoption rights, civil partnerships and in 2013 it was Labour votes that secured the historic Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act in the face of more than half of the Conservative Party opposing the measure.

LGBT Labour co-chair Bev Craig, said: “Only by getting more openly-LGBT people in Parliament will we be a democracy fit for the 21st century. The Chris Smith List has already helped candidates up and down the country. On 7 May we’re sure that these vital funds will elect more LGBT Labour MPs and help secure the Labour government that this country needs.” 

Gloria De Piero MP
Gloria De Piero MP

Shadow Equalities Minister, Gloria De Piero, said: “It’s fantastic to know we have more openly LGBT candidates than ever before, I pay tribute to LGBT Labour for the work it has done to raise record amounts supporting our candidates. We’ve come a long way in LGBT representation since Chris Smith became the first openly gay MP but the lesson of the last 30 years is that progress requires us to keep pushing forward. From taking action on homophobic bullying in schools to reviewing the law on trans rights, a Labour Government will continue to lead that change.”

Andrew Pakes, Labour’s candidate for Milton Keynes South, said: “Labour has a strong record on delivering LGBT rights but we need to ensure that there are MPs in Parliament to lead the campaign for equality goes on. The Chris Smith List is hugely important in helping to achieve that and ensuring the next generation of Labour MPs has openly LGBT MPs who can support and speak up for the LGBT community.”

As well as appointing Lord Cashman as a global LGBT human rights envoy, Ed Miliband and the Labour Party have pledged to continue to support LGBT people both in Britain and around the world and has also committed to expunge historic records of gay men convicted under antiquated laws.