Tory Nigel Evans has said he hoped his decision to publicly admit he is gay will help others be open after revealing a Labour MP had threatened to “out” him.
Mr Evans, a deputy speaker in the Commons, declared his homosexuality on the eve of the launch of a new help group for politicians and Westminster staff.
The MP for Ribble Valley, whose sexual orientation was an open secret to many in Parliament, would not name the MP concerned but said he wanted to help end such “nastiness”.
“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.
“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.”
“I am sure there are other gay MPs who would like to be open about their sexuality but are fearful of the consequences. I hope this new group will help them to do so.”
Mr Evans, who becomes the 22nd openly gay MP in the Commons, is a vice-president of the ParliOut initiative which will be launched on Sunday by Commons Speaker John Bercow.
The first support group for gay politicians, their staff and other parliamentary workers, it was set up with the help of gay rights charity Stonewall.
He told the Mail on Sunday that the spur to his decision finally to come out was a fellow Tory MP asking if he should include his name on a list of the most powerful gay politicians.
“I thought, this is just daft. I am not going to live a lie any more,” he said.