British parliament deputy speaker comes out

19th December 2010, Comments 0 comments

A deputy speaker in Britain's parliament outed himself as gay on Sunday, claiming a former lawmaker was threatening to make his sexuality public.

Conservative lawmaker Nigel Evans, one of three who deputises for speaker John Bercow in the lower House of Commons, declined to name the Labour ex-member of parliament behind his decision.

"The MP was saying to anyone who would listen: 'Why is it that Nigel Evans leads a life whereby he is gay to some people and not others?'," he told The Mail on Sunday newspaper.

"I could not afford it to be used as leverage against me. I couldn't take the risk. I don't want any other MP to face that kind of nastiness again."

Evans becomes the 22nd openly gay lawmaker in the 650-member Commons.

"I am sure there are other gay MPs who would like to be open about their sexuality but are fearful of the consequences," the 53-year-old said.

"I thought this is just daft. I am not going to live a lie any more."

As a youngster it was "hard enough being a Tory, let alone being gay" in his native south Wales, he said.

© 2010 AFP

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