Michael Cashman

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Michael Cashman
Michael Cashman in 2009
Member of the European Parliament
for West Midlands
In office
10 June 1999 – 26 May 2014
Preceded by Position established
Personal details
Born (1950-12-17) 17 December 1950 (age 63)
London, England
Nationality British
Political party Labour
Domestic partner Paul Cottingham
Profession Actor

Michael Maurice Cashman CBE MEP (born 17 December 1950, London) is a British former actor, now a Labour politician. He has been a Member of the European Parliament for the West Midlands constituency since 1999.[1]


As a child actor he was cast in the role of Oliver Twist in the original run of Lionel Bart's musical Oliver![citation needed], but he is possibly best known for his role as Colin Russell in BBC TV's EastEnders – a character remembered for being a participant in the first gay kiss in a British soap opera. He also appeared in the ITV drama serial The Sandbaggers and the Doctor Who story "Time-Flight".


Cashman is a founder of Stonewall, an Honorary Associate of the National Secular Society and a Patron of The Food Chain, a London-based HIV charity.

In the European Parliament he is Labour spokesperson on human rights.

A member of the Civil Liberties Committee, Michael Cashman has been a rapporteur on several key initiatives including an important initiative on funerals of those who die in third countries - an issue he was motivated to act on after the death of his own father.

In the Petitions Committee, where he is first vice-chair, Michael Cashman has been working on the so-called Spanish Land Grab crisis.[2]

He is a trenchant critic of discrimination against minorities within the European Union. He has been leading a cross-party coalition to tackle the rise in homophobia throughout Europe. He has in the past supported the gay pride march in Warsaw, which he attended.[3] He is also the President of the European Parliament's Intergroup on gay and lesbian issues. Cashman is a member of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly. In 2014, he criticized McDonald's, Coca-Cola and Visa Inc. during a session of parliament in protest at their sponsorship of the 2014 Winter Olympics taking place in Sochi, Russia, despite Vladimir Putin having recently introduced legislation against the LGBT community. Cashman cut up his Visa card during the session.[4]

In 2007 he was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Staffordshire for his human rights work.[5] That same year he was elected MEP of the Year for Justice and Fundamental Rights by his peers.[6]

In line with current guidelines the European Parliament pays his domestic partner, Paul Cottingham, £30,000 per annum for his work as Cashman's "Accounts Manager, Personnel Manager and Payroll Administrator".[7]

Cashman was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2013 New Year Honours for public and political service.[8]


He is the treasurer of Equity and led the campaign to obtain pension rights for members.

Personal life[edit]

Cashman registered a civil partnership with Paul Cottingham, his partner of over twenty years, on 11 March 2006.


External links[edit]