Ed Miliband is to secure backing of gay Labour party members while Diane Abbott scores well with gay Labour voters
An exclusive poll for PinkNews.co.uk, Europe’s largest LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) news publisher has revealed that Ed Miliband looks set to win the support of LGBT members of the Labour Party.
PinkNews.co.uk asked 680 LGBT members of the Labour Party how they intend to vote in the upcoming Labour leadership election together with 236 non-party members who either voted Labour in May or would vote Labour if there was an election tomorrow.
Ed Miliband was the overwhelming choice of LGBT members of the Labour party (or affiliated union) for leader of the party with 42 per cent support. Despite the support from four leading lesbian and gay MPs in an open letter to PinkNews.co.uk last week, David Miliband secured the support of just 31 per cent of LGBT party members. Diane Abbott was ranked third with the support of 16 per cent, Andy Burnham seven per cent and Ed Balls last with four per cent.
However, Diane Abbott was the most popular candidate among non-party members who either voted Labour during the last general election or who would vote Labour if there was a general election held tomorrow. She secured 36 per cent support, just ahead of Ed Miliband who secured 35 per cent. David Miliband was ranked third with 20 per cent, Andy Burnham five per cent and Ed Balls last with four per cent.
The level of support for David Miliband is surprising as previous PinkNews.co.uk polls have consistently found that he was the most popular choice for Labour leader among the LGBT community. Just prior to the general election, 31 per cent of readers said they’d rather have him as party leader than the then prime minister Gordon Brown.
The high levels of support for Ed Miliband is likely to have stemmed from his recent comments on gay marriage, saying that civil partnerships were “not good enough”. In an editorial for PinkNews.co.uk last month, Mr Miliband wrote: “I know that civil partnerships were a major step forward, but I also hear those who want the genuine equality of gay marriage.” He added: “Separate but equal’ is not good enough and PinkNews.co.uk’s own recent poll demonstrated the huge support in the LGBT community for a right to marry. The cruel consequence of the current compromise is trans people forced to divorce their partners before they could be legally recognised in their new gender. I want to see heterosexual and same-sex partnerships put on an equal basis and a Labour Party that I lead will campaign to make gay marriage happen. “
In his column and in subsequent later interviews, Mr Miliband called for an end to the ban on gay men donating blood, an end to LGBT asylum seekers being sent back to countries that persecute LGBT people and for stronger laws against inciting homophobic hatred.
Older brother David struggled through an interview with PinkNews.co.uk , unaware of the judgment (that day) of the Supreme Court that overruled Home Office decisions to deport LGBT asylum seekers to countries where they face persecution. He also failed to back full marriage equality, a position he subsequently changed after every other leadership candidate called for full gay marriage.
Diane Abbott has faced some criticism for telling PinkNews.co.uk she abhors the “horrible homophobic lyrics” in the music of many Jamaican artists but several years ago, she chose a song from one the worst offenders, Buju Banton, for a slot on Desert Island Discs.
Welcoming the result Ed Miliband told PinkNews.co.uk: “This PinkNews poll shows that LGBT members of the Labour Party support real change in this election.
“As leader of the Labour party I will be a tireless campaigner for equality and against prejudice in every part of society. I look forward to working with those in the LGBT community both inside and outside the Labour party to make Britain a fairer, more equal and more decent country.”