WATCH: Ed Miliband’s emotional tribute to Michael Cashman’s late partner Paul Cottingham
Watch here the emotional moment Ed Miliband presented a Lifetime Achievement Award to Lord Cashman, as well as a posthumous Award for A Lifetime of Achievement for his late partner Paul Cottingham.
The Labour leader presented the honours at the PinkNews Awards 2014, hosted by the Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow.
On presenting the awards, he said: “It is also right, appropriate and I think deeply sad for all of us that Paul is not with us. Paul Cottingham was an extraoridnary person. I feel deeply deeply privelaged to have known him.
“Michael I used to call you the Posh and Becks of the Labour Party. We can only imagine what you are going through at the moment.”
“We will forever carry Paul with us in our hearts because he was an extraordinary advocate, an extraordinary person, and an extraordinary friend to so many people in the community.”
Lord Cashman thanked Mr Miliband for the appointment as Labour’s LGBT envoy, and said he would “with great determination, charm and ferocity.”
“It was said earlier that marriage is for a lifetime, but for some in this room it won’t be a surprise that actually love is for a lot, lot longer. All that I’ve achieved I could never have achieved without Paul.”
“I remember the days when we weren’t welcome. I remember the days when we weren’t sponsored. And so the Lifetime Achievements, and my own achievement. It is not my achievement. It is an achievement of thousands of generations of LGBTI people, people of a different race, a different ethnicity, a different gender, who face thousands of generations of discrimination, in order that we might be in the right place now.”
As Big Ben struck 7, he noted that there are 77 countries where it is still criminal to be LGBTI, and five which still have the death penalty. “It is our duty, it is our noble duty, to say – that is our quest, and our cause: to achieve equality for all.”
On the appearance of the Warwick Rowers to receive an honour from Minister from Minister for Women and Equalities, Lord Cashman joked: “On behalf of Paul Cottingham, I have to say this – thank you for bringing on those wonderful rowers. They may have raised money but they certainly raised the temperature in the room.”
“I will celebrate Paul’s life in this way. Because I walked through towards the Peers’ entrance today, and there were about 30 soldiers and sailors there. And I said ‘look at the gifts that Paul’s just brought me’.
“If we don’t smile through life and celebrate love, we have truly and absolutely wasted it.”
Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls, also in presenting the Marketing Campaign of the Year award, said: “I was just a few weeks ago speaking at our Labour Party Conference, and I was going round our stands with Paul, and it was always the most fabulous day of the year for me. I normally manage to come top in a number of different events in our conference in the corporate stands and Paul always counselled me not to do crazy things like lifting weights and driving scalextric cars, and I always ignored him. But I’ll miss him very much.”
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