- 35 openly-LGBT candidates standing for Labour on 7 May
- LGBT Labour has raised a record £25,000 to support LGBT candidates
- Money distributed through The Chris Smith List
- The Chris Smith List was set-up in 2009 to support candidates in the 2010 general election
- Over £40,000 distributed since the list was first established
LGBT Labour has raised a record £25,000 for the Chris Smith List to support openly lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans Labour candidates at the general election on 7 May.
The Chris Smith List, established in 2009, is a fund to support LGBT candidates standing for Parliament. Named after Lord Smith of Finsbury, who, in 1984 made history as the first ever parliamentarian to come out as gay. He continued to make history as the first ever openly-gay cabinet minister in 1997 and in 2005 broke new ground by announcing he is 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 7 May, 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 repealing the Tories hated Section 28 to introducing protections at work, adoption rights and civil partnerships. 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 this fundamental human right.
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.”
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 campaigning for LGBT rights but we need to ensure there are MPs in Parliament to ensure the fight for equality goes on. The Chris Smith List is hugely important in helping candidates achieve that and ensuring the next generation of Labour MPs has openly LGBT MPs who can support and speak up for the LGBT community."
Ed Miliband and the Labour Party have pledged to go further than ever to support LGBT people both in Britain and around the world. As well as pledging to appoint Lord Cashman as a global LGBT human rights envoy, Ed Miliband has also committed to expunge historic records of gay men convicted under antiquated laws.
A full list of Labour's LGBT candidates can be seen here: http://www.lgbtlabour.org.uk/ge15