© William Baker / Luke Fontana

The best British and international LGBTQ talent and straight allies were celebrated this evening during a lavish bash in London.

Former Gay Times cover star Calum Scott, Laverne Cox, and Jess Glynne were among the big winners at the British LGBT Awards, which took place at the Marriott Hotel Grosvenor Square.

Calum walked away with the Metro Guilty Pleasures Award after releasing his debut album Only Human in March, which centred on his own coming out experience.

American actress Laverne Cox won the LGBT+ Celebrity Award, while Jess Glynne was bestowed with the MTV Music Artist trophy.

Sir Richard Branson was honoured for his lifetime of support for the LGBTQ community, from his diverse employment policy to his public backing of same-sex marriage.

“In places like Africa and the Far East, the battle’s far from won. I was recently in Uganda, where gay people are put into prison for life,” he said during his speech.

“The important thing is that we all now turn our attention to countries that are prosecuting and imprisoning gay people – and even executing gay people.”

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was handed the Media Moment of the Year award for his apology to the LGBTQ community over his country’s decades-long campaign to rid the military and civil service of gay people.

“In Canada and around the world, pride in who we are, how we identify and who we love makes us strong,” he said during his acceptance speech.

“Our diversity grows stronger communities and pushes us towards a stronger future for everyone. Every one of us should be proud of who we are and have the chance to achieve our highest potential.”

Elsewhere, Julian Clary was given the Loud and Proud Award, while comedian John Bishop won the Virgin Atlantic Straight Ally award.

The Great British Bake Off presenter Sandi Toksvig was handed the Lifetime Achievement Award, while her predecessor Sue Perkins was given the Broadcast or Journalist prize.

The Employer or Company Award went to MI5, while the Charity or Community Initiative Award went to Pride in London.

The ceremony was hosted by Spice Girl Mel B and Blue boyband member Duncan James.

“Every year the NatWest British LGBT Awards gets bigger and better,” said Sarah Garrett MBE, co-founder of the NatWest British LGBT Awards.

“Our winners and nominees continue to make the world a better place for the LGBT+ community, using their platform to educate people in Britain and beyond about the need for equality.”

The full list of winners are as follows:

Special Recognition Award
Winner: Sir Richard Branson

Loud and Proud Award
Winner: Julian Clary

Lifetime Achievement Award
Winner: Sandi Toksvig

Metro Guilty Pleasures Award
Winner: Calum Scott

LGBT+ Celebrity
Winner: Laverne Cox

MTV Music Artist
Winner: Jess Glynne

Virgin Atlantic Celebrity Ally
Winner: John Bishop

Broadcaster or Journalist
Winner: Sue Perkins

Media Moment
Winner: Justin Trudeau apologises to the LGBT+ Community

Online Influencer
Winner: Connor Franta

Park Plaza Brand or Marketing Campaign
Joint winners: Playboy and YouTube

Charity or Community Initiative
Winner: Pride in London

2CITIES1BREAK Top LGBT+ Destination
Winner: Tel Aviv

MI5 Outstanding Contribution to LGBT+ Life
Winner: Susie Green, CEO, Mermaids

Corporate Straight Ally
Winner: Peter Madden, Arcadis

Diversity Champion
Winner: Joanna Walker, Virgin Money

LGBT+ Inspirational Leader
Winner: Pips Bunce, Credit Suisse

LGBT+ Corporate Rising Star
Winner: Jonathan Andrews, Reed Smith

LGBT+ Network Group
Winner: KPMG Breathe

Employer or Company
Winner: MI5