Four of Labour’s most prominent gay MPs have backed David Miliband for the party’s leadership.
Chris Bryant, Angela Eagle, Ben Bradshaw and Stephen Twigg said today that Mr Miliband had “consistently supported equality in every form”.
They said that he had a “clear vision for the country” and would “win the confidence of the British people”.
In an interview with PinkNews.co.uk in the summer, Mr Miliband would not say that he supported gay marriage and instead said he had “not got a closed mind” on the issue.
He said: “Many of my friends who are gay have had civil partnerships. They – and I – think of them as completely equal. I think it’s seen as gays and lesbians are equal.”
However, he later announced that he was in favour of changing the law to open up marriage and civil partnerships to straight and gay couples.
Labour members will select the party’s next leader at the Labour conference in Manchester later this month.
Mr Miliband, the former Foreign Secretary, is tipped to win the leadership, although he faces competition from his younger brother Ed.
Other contenders are former schools secretary Ed Balls, former health secretary Andy Burnham and backbencher Diane Abbott.
David Miliband will be officially endorsed by Labour’s most high-profile gay MPs at an event in Soho tonight.
Letter from Chris Bryant, Angela Eagle, Ben Bradshaw and Stephen Twigg:
We are supporting David Miliband for leader of the Labour Party and urging all LGBT Labour Party and Trades Union members to support him for three reasons.
Firstly he has always consistently supported equality in every form. He campaigned for an equal age of consent, he voted to end Section 28, to allow gay adoption, to introduce civil partnerships and for lesbian fertility rights. As Foreign Secretary he ensured that the Foreign Office vigorously defended LGBT human rights around the world. He now wants to go further, by putting same-sex relationships on exactly the same legal footing as heterosexual ones and ensuring that those who are persecuted for their sexuality abroad can seek asylum in this country.
Secondly, he has a clear vision for the country, where power, wealth and opportunity are in the hands of the many not the few; where people earn a living wage and wealth is truly shared; where everyone can benefit from work; where the opportunity of world-class education and the guarantee of excellent health care are a birthright for all; where families who need a home are not left to the chances of the market; where lives are not ruined by crime, liberty is real and we break the hopeless cycle of crime; and where people feel secure against the global challenges of economic insecurity and climate change.
And thirdly we believe he is best placed not just to take the Conservative Lib Dem Government to task, but also to win the confidence of the British people and defeat the Tories at the next election. We can already see the danger of a second recession caused directly by the Government’s deliberate, dogmatic and excessive cuts. They threaten all our future prosperity and because they fall on the poorest in society they will leave Britain a less fair society, a country less at ease with itself. But the task of rebuilding a self-confident, just and more equal society is not just about economics. It’s also about the values and principles we share and the leadership we offer. That has been the hallmark of David’s campaign and will be the defining feature of the Party if he is given the chance to lead it.
All members of the Labour Party and affiliated trades unions have a vote in this election – and anyone who joins by September 8th gets to take part. So we urge LGBT people who care about the future of this country to join the party – and vote for David.
Chris Bryant MP
Angela Eagle MP
Ben Bradshaw MP
Stephen Twigg MP