Sir Ian McKellen
The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings star has long been a LGBT campaigner Getty

Legendary actor and gay rights activist Sir Ian McKellen has backed Labour's LGBT manifesto, which outlines Ed Miliband's plan to "transform" access to mental health services.

McKellen, who is known for his role in The Lord of Rings and The Hobbit films as Gandalf, claimed the policy document would "make the world a better safer place for us all".

The 75-year-old said: "I am impressed by the aims and commitments of Labour's manifesto for LGBT people, particularly the appointment of Michael Cashman as an international LGBT Rights Envoy. Such initiatives cost little, yet help make the world a better safer place for us all."

McKellen, who came out in 1988, made the comments ahead of the launch of the manifesto by Angela Eagle in Brighton later today (21 April).

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The shadow House of Commons leader will promise that Labour will prioritise access to mental health services for young people, including those bullied because of their sexuality or gender identity and ensure teachers are equipped to identify problems early and link children up with support.

"Too many LGBT young people are growing up scared and alone because they are bullied at school and don't have sufficient support when their mental health suffers," Eagle will say.

"In government Labour will finish the job we started and ensure every LGBT person has the chance to achieve their ambitions free from prejudice and discrimination."

Labour's LGBT manifesto will pledge five promises to the LGBT community to "drive forward progress".

But a poll earlier in the year showed that Labour and the Tories were neck-and-neck (26% vs 26%) for gay voters as the election looms.

The survey, published in March for PinkNews, also revealed that LGBT support for the Liberal Democrats had dramatically dropped from 40% in 2010 to 19%.

Elsewhere, the Greens had seen their support rocket from 4% to 20% over the same period. But Ukip only garnered 2% of the vote among the 987 LGBT respondents.