Jeremy Corbyn: Without David Cameron’s commitment, equal marriage would not be law

Britain's opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn

Jeremy Corbyn has paid tribute to PinkNews Ally of the Year David Cameron, in a speech to the PinkNews Awards.

Former Prime Minister David Cameron was honoured at last night’s PinkNews Awards, in recognition of his work to transform both the Conservative Party and the country on LGBT rights.

The ex-leader cited securing equal marriage as one of his proudest achievements in government.

Lynne Featherstone, Ed Miliband, Nick Clegg and Alex Salmond have all previously won PinkNews Awards, in recognition of the cross-party coalition who brought about equal marriage.

In his speech to the PinkNews Awards, current Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said: “Politics is rightly passionate and partisan. We speak from our hearts. Our views are based on our values and principles.

“That is most certainly true of David Cameron. We have deeply different views on what is best for our country and on how to deal with economic inequality.

“He has a radically different views on how he thinks I should dress too – in fact his whole family seems to have a view on my sartorial elegance.

“But I say this about him – without any ambiguity – without his tenacity, without his commitment, without his persistence and without a few hundred Labour MPs, equal marriage would not be law in this country today..

“He should rightly be proud of what he achieved because without him leading the way there are people in this room tonight who would not have the same status as heterosexual couples.”

Mr Corbyn also took the opportunity to set out his LGBT rights agenda.

He said: “We must be wary of complacency – because for all the progress we have made in our recent past there are voices who are happy to promote hatred with populist and bigoted language.

“Since the EU referendum we have seen an astronomic rise in homophobic and transgender hate crimes.

“To deal with this, the police must have the resources to investigate, the CPS must have the funds to prosecute, but to deal with the hate too many from the LBGT communities face we need to start before the police investigation.

“We need to intervene before the court case. I firmly believe that the role of government is to challenge the environment where hate festers. And that must begin with education, because the more we know and the less we fear.

“I believe that the state – your government – can and should intervene.

“That’s why I made a promise in the recent leadership campaign that the next Labour Government would actively update the national curriculum to reflect LGBT historical figures and the fight for LGBT rights, and we have the evidence that this positive promotion works.

“Today we are reaching the end of Black History month. An event that has brought huge amounts of knowledge and understanding of the UKs multicultural communities.

“Go to any school today and ask the kids about the contribution of Rosa Parks to the fight for racial justice, the poetic writing of Alice Walker or the legacy of Nelson Mandela and they will have a knowledge that many previous generations were not given.

“Imagine this then – embedded into the heart of the school curriculum our kids learning about the contribution of mathematician Alan Turing, the man whose brilliance did so much to bring the Second World War to an end.

“Imagine telling a class of children that one of the most brilliant astronauts of our age – Sally Ride – a woman who has been catapulted into space at thousands of miles per hour, also happened to be a lesbian.

“For the next generation of aspiring Olympiads who is a better role model than Tom Daley. For those kids looking for a career in journalism – what about Evan Davis as an inspiration… even if he’s given me a bit of a tough time every now and again!

“Let’s get a new generation to rejoice at the huge contribution LGBT people have made throughout history.

“And talking of Alan Turing – I want to be clear – if this government fails to bring forward legislation in this parliament to provide a pardon for every single person who was convicted for being gay – then my Labour Government will offer to those who seek it – a full pardon.

“These men committed no crime, their records should be wiped clean, the stain on their characters erased.”

He also paid tribute to progress in the British Military, after the first same-sex wedding on an overseas military base.

Mr Corbyn said: “If in 1983, someone had said to me I would be at an event where three of the four shortlisted candidates for the Public Sector Award would be the Met Police, the British Army and GCHQ, I would have seriously questioned their rational thinking at that time.

“That is how much it has all completely changed.

“Your work in bringing equality to your workplace stands alongside the best employers in the country. Thank you very much for setting an example that every other employer should follow.”

The PinkNews Awards is headlined sponsored by Lloyds Banking Group.

Jeremy Corbyn: Without David Cameron’s commitment, equal marriage would not be law