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Labour MEP Michael Cashman to receive CBE

Labour MEP Michael Cashman will be awarded a CBE by the Queen at Buckingham Palace today.

The former EastEnders actor is one of the co-founders of Stonewall, the largest gay equality organization in the UK and Europe.

Former EastEnders star and Labour MEP Michael Cashman Credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA Archive/

Formed in 1989, the charity is named after the Stonewall Inn of Stonewall riots fame in New York City's Greenwich Village.

Gay rights activist Michael Cashman awarded CBE

Former EastEnders star Michael Cashman, left, with Paul Cottingham at their civil partnership ceremony in 2006. Credit: PA

Gay rights activist and actor-turned-politician Michael Cashman was awarded a CBE in today's New Year's Honours.

Cashman, 62, is probably best-known for delivering the first gay kiss on British prime-time TV, sparking record numbers of complaints but also many plaudits when his character Colin Russell pecked lover Barry Clark on the forehead in a 1987 episode of EastEnders.

Colin was the first homosexual character in the BBC soap, and his introduction caused huge controversy at a time when gay people were largely represented as camp figures of fun on TV.