Sir Ian McKellen makes surprise endorsement of Labour’s LGBT manifesto

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

Actor and gay rights legend Sir Ian McKellen has made a surprise endorsement of the Labour party’s commitment to LGBT rights.

The Labour party launched its LGBT manifesto in Brighton yesterday – including commitments to reform the system for LGBT asylum seekers, strengthen hate crime laws, and appoint an LGBT rights envoy.

Though he was not present at the launch, Hobbit star Sir Ian McKellen has spoken to endorse the manifesto – which recommends his long-time friend and Stonewall co-founder Lord Cashman for the new role of LGBT rights envoy.

The actor said: “I am impressed by the aims and commitments of Labour’s manifesto for LGBT people, particularly the appointment of Michael Cashman as an international LGBT Rights Envoy.

“Such initiatives cost little, yet help make the world a better safer place for us all.”

Sir Ian McKellen has backed the Labour party on a number of occasions – and has also spoken to condemn former Conservative PM Margaret Thatcher for a “nasty, brutish” approach to gay rights.

The star was awarded Freedom of the City of London last year – in recognition of his decades of activism and work with charities.

Also last year, the actor attended the launch of the Warwick Rowers’ naked charity calendar.

He said: “I was delighted to be asked, and more than happy to help the boys with the amazing work they are doing through Sport Allies.

“Though I did ask them to make clear on the invitation that I would remain clothed throughout the event.”