Ex Conservative minister Michael Portillo claims Thatcher was 'liberal' about homosexuality

'She was surrounded by gay people amongst her advisors' 

Portillo has long been a strong advocate of Maggie Thatcher
Portillo has long been a strong advocate of Maggie Thatcher

The former Conservative minister Michael Portillo has said that Margaret Thatcher was more “liberal” about homosexuality than many would imagine.

Speaking on This Week, the ex-deputy Conservative Party leader said: “Many people would have an impression of Margaret Thatcher as a great prude – actually she wasn’t”.

“She was rather liberal on sexual matters. For example, she was surrounded by gay people amongst her advisers.”

After Andrew Neil probed him about whether Baroness Thatcher was conscious of this, Portillo replied: “Oh yes, she knew”.

Under Baroness Thatcher’s reign, the Conservatives prohibited the ‘promotion’ of homosexuality in schools via the introduction of Section 28 in 1988.

Just a year earlier in 1987, Thatcher told the Tory Party Conference: “Children, who need to be taught to respect traditional moral values, are being taught that they have an inalienable right to be gay.“

Critics have taken to Twitter to challenge the politician’s comments.

While working as Defence Secretary, Mr Portillo pushed for a traditionalist Thatcherite path, in order to differentiate between Conservative and Labour foreign policies.

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