European Parliament member Michael Cashman has been nominated for an award in recognition of his work for human rights.

An MEP for the West Midlands, he has been a strong defender of the rights of LGBT across Europe. He is president of the European Parliament Intergroup on Gay and Lesbian Rights.

The Parliament Magazine, organisers of the awards, explained how the MEPs are chosen:

“Nominations for each of the categories have been taken from non-government organisations and not-for-profit organisations working in sector-specific areas.

“These organisations were asked to nominate those who they felt had done exceptionally good work in their policy area. We all know that the areas of work which MEPs are involved with are much wider than these topic areas.

“However, in highlighting these areas we hope that a few can be rewarded for their extra special contribution.”

Mr Cashman has been nominated in the Justice and Human Rights Category.

The awards seek to improve understanding and appreciation of the work of MEPs.

“I am amazed and proud to have been nominated for this award,” he told PinkNews.co.uk

“When it comes to the defence of Human Rights and Civil Liberties, no-one acts alone. Therefore I want to pay tribute to all those people who work with me, both personally and politically.

“We share a common goal, which is to make the world a fairer and better place to live.”

Earlier this year Mr Cashman was awarded an honorary degree by Staffordshire University.

Before he became an MEP in 1999, his ground-breaking portrayal of Colin Russell in EastEnders, between 1986 and 1989, saw the first gay kiss in a UK soap.

Mr Cashman co-founded gay equality organisation Stonewall in 1989 and is also a key figure in the Labour party, a member of the ruling National Executive Committee and close to former Prime Minister Tony Blair.

MEPs will make the final choice and decide who receives the awards.

The results will be announced on October 9th.