Tuesday 6 December 2016

Secretary of State for Scotland becomes the first openly gay Conservative Cabinet minister

Published 13/01/2016 | 13:00

Scottish Secretary David Mundell. Photo: David Jones/PA Wire
Scottish Secretary David Mundell. Photo: David Jones/PA Wire

A politician in the UK has become the first openly gay Conservative Cabinet minister.

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David Mundell, the Conservative Scotland Secretary, came out as gay today.

Mr Mundell described coming out publically as "one of the most important decisions" of his life and that he "just [wanted] to get on with it", the Telegraph newspaper reports.

It is understood that David Cameron was informed of Mr Mundell’s decision to come out "in recent days".

Mr Mundell, the MP for Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale, made the announcement with a statement.

“New Year, new start! I have already set out my political priorities for the year and now I am setting out my personal one,” he said.

“Having taken one of the most important decisions of my life and resolved to come out publically as gay in 2016, I just want to get on with it, and now, just like that, I have said it.”

“How can it be both so easy and so hard to say a few short words?”

“In the end, it took just a couple of taps on a keyboard, yet at some points, in my mind, it was going to be harder than standing for election, speaking in the House of Commons or being cross-examined on television. I still cannot fully rationalise such feelings, but I know they are not uncommon, particularly in men of my age.”

“Of course, everybody who gets to this point, has had their own journey. I have certainly been on mine - conflicting emotions, of doubts and fears, but ultimately positive and uplifting, with an unstoppable direction of travel. Over time, I came to understand that, for me, 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. However, making this public is something I have had to do myself. I don’t know what the wider reaction will be, but I know it’s the right thing for me to do.”

“Other than the intensely personal and positive difference it makes to me, and the way I can live my life, my hope is that my coming out doesn’t change anything else about how I go about my work or how people treat me. Gender and sexuality should make no difference whether you are a Cabinet Minister or in any other walk of life and I hope that I can, in my own way, reinforce that message.”

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