BBC NEWS
BBCi CATEGORIES   TV   RADIO   COMMUNICATE   WHERE I LIVE   INDEX    SEARCH 

BBC News UK Edition
 You are in: Politics  
News Front Page
World
UK
England
N Ireland
Scotland
Wales
Politics
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
Education
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
CBBC News
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
Wednesday, 28 August, 2002, 11:22 GMT 12:22 UK
From Albert Square to Brussels
Michael Cashman
Action against Iraq needs UN backing, says Cashman
Simon Murphy's resignation as a Labour MEP could only be good news for former actor turned MEP Michael Cashman.

Not only is the ex-EastEnders star tipped to become the next leader of the Labour group, but Mr Murphy's decision to step down could save him his seat.

Mr Cashman, one of the first openly gay politicians to win a major UK election, became a West Midlands MEP in 1999.

But plans by Labour to help more women get into Europe has threatened his seat.

Michael Cashman
Cashman will always be remembered as 'Colin' in EastEnders
His Labour colleague Neena Gill is likely to keep her post as a West Midlands MEP because Labour intends to keep women at the top of candidate shortlists.

Mr Murphy, the other West Midlands MEP, would have been unlikely to lose his seat because of his seniority, making Mr Cashman the likely loser.

West End performer

But now the future for Mr Cashman, better known to millions as Colin, the gay Guardian-reading onetime resident of Albert Square in the TV soap EastEnders, looks more secure.

A true East Ender, who was born in that part of London in 1950, Mr Cashman's career has been a roller coaster of theatrical flourishes, campaigns and Labour activism.

One of four sons, he attended Cardinal Griffin, a Catholic secondary modern school, having failed his 11 plus.

His father was a dock worker and active trade unionist, while his mother was a cleaner.

Mr Cashman was discovered in an end of term school show and within weeks was performing in Lionel Bart's musical Oliver in London's West End.

Equity

In his 37 years as an actor and singer, he directed at New Victoria Theatre, Newcastle under Lyme and worked with stars including Elizabeth Taylor, Sir Ian McKellen, Sir Elton John, June Brown and David Hockney.

Sir Alan Ayckbourn directed two plays written by Mr Cashman.

Politically, Mr Cashman helped introduce pension rights for members of the UK actors' union Equity.

While on EastEnders, Mr Cashman formed the gay rights group Stonewall.

Last year he was voted on to Labour's national executive committee, replacing Clive Soley, the Parliamentary Labour Party's chairman.

Mr Cashman has called for the unequivocal backing of the United Nations before any action is taken against Iraq.

As an MEP, he held talks with Egyptian officials in a bid to free 23 men who were jailed in their country for homosexuality.

See also:

27 Aug 02 | Politics
14 Jun 01 | Politics
26 May 99 | News
08 Jun 99 | News
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


E-mail this story to a friend



© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | World | UK | England | N Ireland | Scotland | Wales |
Politics | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology |
Health | Education | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes