Deputy Commons Speaker comes out

A Deputy Commons Speaker has come out as gay ahead of today's launch of a support group for homosexual MPs and parliamentary staff.

Nigel Evans, 53, said he was "tired of living a lie" and decided to go public after a fellow Tory asked whether he should include him on a list of powerful gay politicians.

Mr Evans, the MP for Ribble Valley, also said a Labour MP had been threatening to "out" him. "I don't want any other MP to face that kind of nastiness again," he said.

"I am sure there are other gay MPs who would like to be open about their sexuality but are fearful of the consequences." Mr Evans, an MP for 18 years and a former shadow Cabinet minister, becomes the 22nd openly gay Commons member.