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Michael Maurice Cashman, CBEBorn: Sun 17th December 1950 (age: 66)
Michael Cashman is a British former actor, now a Labour politician. He has been a Member of the European Parliament for theWest Midlands constituency since 1999.
As a child actor he was cast in the role of Oliver Twist in the original run of Lionel Bart's musical Oliver!, but he is possibly best known for his role as Colin Russell in BBCTV's EastEnders. He also appeared in the ITV drama serial The Sandbaggers.
Michael Cashman has been a rapporteur on several key initiatives including an important initiative on funerals of those who die in third countries. 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. 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 2007 he was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Staffordshire for his human rights work. That same year he was elected MEP of the Year for Justice and Fundamental Rights by his peers.