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Alan Duncan predicts that David Laws will "bounce back" as he muses on the issue of sexuality and politics

DUNCAN ALAN NEWAlan Duncan, the International Development Minister who was the first openly gay Conservative MP, has written a very personal piece for tomorrow's New Statesman, raising the issues of sexuality and politics in the light of David laws' resignation.

He writes poignantly about the prejudices he was up against in the 1980s and 1990s and proudly of the way in which candidates and MPs' sexuality is no longer an issue in today's Conservative Party.

Here's an extract from his piece (which is not yet online):

"I think I know what David Laws has been through. He and I have many traits in common. Apart from being a little on the short side, we have both had high-rolling commercial careers before politics, and are fairly strait-laced and conventional. The outward confidence conceals intense emotions and, when young and ambitious, being outwardly gay would have added a needless complication. What’s it to do with anyone else, anyway? What business is it of theirs? I chose my own course, and nobody deserves to be condemned for choosing a different one."

"I hope I helped break the mould, and in doing so have helped others. The steady trickle of thank-you letters from people who say that their life has been made easier by having a Conservative exemplar is heartening. Even more so is the complete change in the Conservative Party itself. David Cameron is of a generation that is so totally matter-of-fact about anyone’s sexuality that Conservatives’ positive embrace for so many gay candidates, and equality more generally, is entirely honest.

"It has been an important element in our transformation. Cameron and Nick Clegg do not hold an iota of doubt about the need for gay recognition and equality, and exemplify why issues about gay people need no longer play any part in party politics. Unfortunately, David Laws was just on the cusp of that new generation for which life is freer. He is talented, genuine and likeable. He has had a bumpy moment, but he will bounce back, and will do so stronger, better known and with a reservoir of respect. I hope he does, and I for one will be rooting for him."

Jonathan Isaby 


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