Letter: Portillo's judgment

Sir: In defending himself against accusations of hypocrisy for having given support to the ban on gay men in the army, Michael Portillo has raised a more pertinent question. He says that, as a minister, he could not allow his judgment to be formed "on matters of national security" by the casual experiences he had had at university ("Smooth operator Portillo charms the Tory faithful", 11 September).

But this evades the real issue. What he does not explain is whether, with his admitted knowledge of homosexuality, he considers gay men to be security risks, unfitted to serve their country. If this is his opinion, then he should say so frankly.

He cannot refute the charge of hypocrisy with an answer which implies contempt for the men with whom he had those "homosexual experiences". Either he thinks such a ban justified or he does not.