The Conservatives’ first openly gay MP has been appointed the Shadow Secretary of State for Trade Industry and shadow cabinet member responsibility for equality.

Alan Duncan, the 48 year old MP for Rutland Melton was handed the Trade Industry portfolio following the reshuffle carried out afterDavid Cameron’s election as leader of the Conservative Party and Her Majesty’s Opposition.

Mr Duncan, had previously served as Shadow Transport Secretary under former leader Michael Howard and the change in his portfolio is widely regarded as a promotion.

As the party’s Trade Industry spokesman, he will shadow the work of Alan Johnson, the Trade Industry Secretary. The Department includes responsibility for the government’s Women and Equality Unit and is responsible for all aspects of diversity policies adopted by the government.

Mr Duncan previously led the Conservative’s acceptance of the Civil Partnership Act and had been credited with mellowing the party’s policies on gay issues.

Eleanor Laing who was re-appointed Shadow Equality Minister will support Mr Duncan in his new role. Ms Laing last month explained her party’s new stance on gay policy to PinkNews.co.uk readers.

Mr Duncan who has been an MP since 1992 and is currently understood to be single. He is to be seen regularly out on the London gay scene.