Labour’s top gay MPs stand for shadow cabinet

Four of Labour’s best-known out gay MPs are among the 49 standing for the shadow cabinet elections.

Former ministers Chris Bryant, Ben Bradshaw, Angela Eagle and Stephen Twigg were on the list on nominees published at 5pm today.

All four endorsed David Miliband for the party leadership earlier this month. He lost the election to younger brother Ed and announced this evening that he would refuse a shadow cabinet position.

Another out gay senior Labour figure, Nick Brown, resigned as chief whip today at the request of new leader Mr Miliband.

Mr Bryant, 48, a former vicar, has been the MP for Rhondda since 2001. He is the former minister for Europe.

Mr Bradshaw, 50, has been the MP for Exeter since 1997 and has served as minister for culture, media and sport and also minister for health.

Ms Eagle, 49, is Labour’s only out lesbian MP. She was elected MP for Wallasey in 1992 and was a pensions minister between 2009 and 2010.

Mr Twigg, 43, was elected MP for Liverpool West Derby in May. Prior to that, he was MP for Enfield Southgate between 1997 and 2005. He was minister of state for schools between 2004 and 2005.

Nineteen seats in the shadow cabinet are up for grabs. Harriet Harman, the former equality minister, already has a place as deputy party leader, while a separate ballot will decide the new chief whip.

At least half of the new shadow cabinet could be women, as new party rules state that six of the posts must be filled by female MPs. Ed Miliband is understood to have said he wants a gender-balanced shadow cabinet.

Jobs will not be assigned until after the 19 MPs are elected. Voting takes place between October 4th and 7th, with the winners announced at 9pm on October 7th.