PinkNews.co.uk exclusive

A prominent gay MP has laughed off suggestions that Gordon Brown is homophobic.

Chris Byant told PinkNews.co.uk that the Chancellor, who today launched his campaign to become leader of the Labour party and the UK’s next Prime Minister, is totally committed to gay rights.

Mr Brown launched his bid for power at the Imagination Gallery in London today.

“In the weeks and months ahead, my task is to show I have the new ideas, the vision and the experience to earn the trust of the British people,” he said.

Mr Bryant confirmed that he will be backing Mr Brown to take over from Tony Blair.

“I think he is proved himself to be a strong Chancellor, with 2.5 million more people in work and halving unemployment.

“I think he has got the right values and principles and I think he is going to surprise everyone.”

Mr Bryant, the MP for Rhonnda, defended the Chancellor’s voting record.

A PinkNews.co.uk investigation last year revealed that Mr Brown had never voted for gay rights.

He did vote in favour of the Sexual Orientation Regulations earlier this year.

“Gordon has not voted on much but his record is still better that David Cameron who voted against gay adoption.

“I spoke to Gordon when we were in the lobby voting for the Sexual Orientation Regulations and he said “It is good to do something you believe in.”

“I know that Gordon believes in what the Labour government has done and is wholly committed to equality.”

Mr Bryant was one of the MPs who urged Tony Blair to stand down in September 2006.

The Prime Minister announced yesterday that he will resign on June 27th.

An election for the leader and deputy leader of the Labour party will start on Monday with Mr Brown the clear favourite to take over from Mr Blair.

The race to succeed John Prescott as deputy leader is providing more drama than what looks more and more like a Brown coronation.

Mr Bryant told PinkNews.co.uk he will be supporting Harriet Harman.

Ms Harman, a justice minister, today published a list of the 44 MPs who will be supporting her, the number required to get her name on the ballot.

“I am supporting Harriet Harman. I just think when she has the bit between her teeth there is no stopping her and I think she will add something to the top team.

“She worked hard on gay rights issues and I know that she badgered people at No 10 and else where over the proposed Catholic adoption opt out.”

Cabinet ministers Peter Hain and Hazel Blears have revealed they have 44 MPs backing them, and education secretary Alan Johnson and backbench candidate Jon Cruddas are said to be confident they can get enough support to run.

International development secretary Hilary Benn now looks unlikely to get the support of fellow MPs and may be the first candidate to drop out of the race.