Government officials have this weekend revealed that 3.6 million British people are gay or lesbian.

In the first national quantification of the gay population, the Treasury have found that 6% of the country is gay.

The Treasury conducted the estimate to assess the financial impact of the introduction of the Civil Partnership Act this month.

The Department of Trade and Industry in a separate estimate found that of the 3.6 million gays, 1.5 to 2 million are in full time employment. This fits in with the ratio in the general population where half of the 60 million British residents are in employment.

Welcoming the figures, Ben Summerskill, the Chief Executive of gay rights charity told the Observer: “Historically people have got bogged down in endless rows about this with some of the more colourful gay activists insisting as many as 20 per cent of the population was gay, while people who were opposed to gay equality, such as Norman Tebbit, claimed it was one in 100. Six per cent feels like a sensible estimate.”