Gay rights activist, Peter Tatchell put previous political battles aside this week to express his support for Liberal Democrat leadership candidate, Simon Hughes.

Mr Tatchell a former Labour candidate, was defeated by Mr Hughes in the 1983 Bermondsey by-election, which was marred by homophobic taunts and violence towards Peter Tatchell’s campaign.

But Mr Tatchell, now a Green Party member, revealed that it’s time to “forgive and forget,” he said: “Simon Hughes is the best of the Lib Dem leadership candidates. If I was a party member, he’d get my vote.”

“The Liberals fought a very dirty campaign during the Bermondsey by-election. Some of their male canvassers went around the constituency wearing lapel stickers emblazoned with the words ‘I’ve been kissed by Peter Tatchell’, in a blatant bid to win the homophobic vote.”

“But that’s in the past I don’t hold grudges, I want to see the party give a stronger lead on social justice and green issues. Simon is the contender most likely to move the Liberal Democrats in that direction.”

“Of all the Lib Dem leadership contenders, he is the most progressive.”

Meanwhile Mr Hughes, who has always been silent on his private life, last week insisted he isn’t gay, he told The Independent he would like to get married but every woman rejects him.