• Conor McGinn named Politician of the Year at the PinkNews Awards

    St Helens North MP Conor McGinn has been named Politician of the Year at the PinkNews Awards in London.

    The Labour MP and Conservative peer Lord Hayward were both honoured for their work across the political divide to extend equal marriage to Northern Ireland.

    LGBT campaigners have praised the pair’s efforts to secure equality via Westminster, given the absence of a devolved government.

    The two politicians were presented with their joint prize by House of Commons Speaker John Bercow at the awards event in Westminster, which was also attended by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and former Prime Minister Tony Blair.

    Mr McGinn has said he hopes his bill will keep up pressure on the UK government to act on the issue.

    This week, the House of Commons voted by 207-117 in favour of an amendment proposed by Mr McGinn and his Labour colleague Stella Creasy that forces the Government to address the ban on equal marriage, by issuing guidance to civil servants and departments in the region on the human rights impact of the current laws in relation to same-sex marriage and abortion.

    But once again today, a single objection by a Conservative MP blocked the second reading of Mr McGinn’s marriage equality bill.

    Mr McGinn said: “This is not about people getting married or even being gay, this is about people being equal. We are absolutely determined to do get equality for people in Belfast so that they can enjoy the same rights as my constituents in St Helens and people in London, Dublin, Edinburgh and Cardiff.

    “Our opponents who block my Bill and seek to frustrate the wishes of Parliament and hundreds of thousands of people are only postponing the inevitable. Change is coming!”