Conservative MP David Mundell has publicly announced that he is gay.
Mr Mundell, who represents Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale and is his party’s only MP in Scotland, said the move was “the only way to truly be happy on a personal level”.
“Having taken one of the most important decisions of my life and resolved to come out publically as gay in 2016, I just want to get on with it, and now, just like that, I have said it,” he said in a statement posted on his website.
“How can it be both so easy and so hard to say a few short words? In the end, it took just a couple of taps on a keyboard, yet at some points, in my mind, it was going to be harder than standing for election, speaking in the House of Commons or being cross-examined on television.”
Mr Mundell is the Secretary of State for Scotland and is the first Conservative cabinet minister to come out as gay.
The MP joins 32 other openly gay or lesbian MPs in Parliament, making up about 5 per cent of the 650 elected at the 2015 general election.
The first MP to come out in office was Labour MP Chris Smith, who was elected in 1984. The first MP to be openly gay before he was elected was Stephen Twigg, who was elected in 1997.
The news was welcomed by Downing Street. The Prime Minister’s official spokesperson told journalists:
“The Prime Minister is delighted that he’s in a position to take this step.”
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies