SCOTTISH Secretary and divorced dad David Mundell yesterday bravely admitted he was gay — the first member of a Tory Cabinet to come out, The Sun reports. The father of three said his New Year’s resolution to go public was “one of the most important decisions of my life”.
Mr Mundell, 53, claimed coming out still felt more difficult in Britain than standing for election or being interviewed on live television. It brings the number of openly-gay MPs to 33, the highest proportion of any parliament in the world, according to a US study. And it means there are as many on the Tory benches — 13 — as there are on Labour’s.
Although he is the first at Cabinet level, many of Mr Mundell’s Tory colleagues have gone public with their sexuality. Alan Duncan became the first Tory MP to announce he was gay in 2002. Crispin Blunt, Nick Boles and Nick Gibb are among homosexuals in the party to have held ministerial roles.
Labour’s Chris Smith became the first gay Cabinet minister when he was made Culture Secretary more than 20 years ago. Labour colleague Lord Mandelson held a number of Cabinet roles, while Angela Eagle, now Shadow Business Secretary, became the first openly-lesbian woman in Parliament. Mr Mundell wrote on his website yesterday: “The only way to be truly happy on a personal level is to acknowledge in public as well as in private who I am.
“I so admire the many people, young and old, who are doing this every day, uncertain of the reaction. “I have been very fortunate and couldn’t have had more love and support from my family and friends.” His son Oliver, 26, who hopes to be a Tory MSP in May, tweeted: “I admire my dad as much today as I did yesterday. Brave decision to go public and the right one.”
No10 said PM David Cameron was “delighted” Mr Mundell was “in a position to take this step”. Schools Minister Nick Gibb, who also came out last year, said: “Every such decision by a public figure helps others to do the same.”
Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon tweeted: “Good on you, David. Well done and best wishes.” And Scottish Conservative Party leader Ruth Davidson, who is a lesbian, said her colleague had her “wholehearted support”. ??firstname.lastname@example.org