These are external links and will open in a new window. Chris Smith, as he was known before his elevation to the House of Lords, made history in when he became the first openly gay male MP in Britain's House of Commons. He had recently been elected Labour MP for Islington South, when he made his announcement at a gay rights protest rally in Rugby. It was seen as a very brave thing to do at a time when homosexuality was a taboo subject at Westminster. Urbane and cultured, with a strong interest in the arts, he rose to prominence during the New Labour era that transformed the image of the Labour Party under Tony Blair.
Today, openly gay MPs are nothing unusual. But three decades ago Westminster was a very different place — there were no openly gay parliamentarians, and there never had been. That was when Chris Smith decided to change things. But as he began his political career, he found colleagues believed to be gay facing constant intrusion by tabloids, desperate to out an MP. The one big question was how and when and where to do it.
To continue, please confirm that you have read and accept these:. You have to agree to pocketmags. Shopping Cart - 0 items Your cart is currently empty.
Then last month, the Scottish Secretary and divorced father of three, David Mundell, became the first openly out Tory cabinet member. Lord Chris Smith is in the picture — he was the first openly gay MP in the s and also the first to be appointed to the cabinet when he became Culture Secretary in For years, Chris was the only one.