Gay MP Evans praised for openness

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Nigel Evans's decision to publicly declare his homosexuality has been welcomed

The decision by a Tory MP to publicly declare his homosexuality has been welcomed by fellow politicians and equality campaigners.

Nigel Evans, a deputy Commons Speaker, is expected to explain his decision to be open about his personal life in the Mail on Sunday, his agent said.

The Ribble Valley MP, who owns a family convenience store in his native Swansea, has never been married and his homosexuality was widely assumed in Westminster.

On Monday he is expected to attend the launch of ParliOut – the first such support group for gay politicians, their staff and other Parliamentary staff.

Labour former minister Chris Bryant – a board member of the group and himself gay – said he was glad Mr Evans had decided to be open.

“Glad to see Nigel Evans is ‘coming out’. An open secret in parliament for years,” he wrote on social networking site Twitter.

Liberal Democrat Stephen Gilbert also offered “congratulations” and the news was welcomed by gay rights charity Stonewall – which helped set up ParliOut.

“We are delighted that people in public life feel able to be open about their sexuality in a way that they just could not be in the past,” a spokesman said.

It takes the number of openly gay MPs in the Commons to 22 – more than half of them Tories.

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