Simon Hughes, who today revealed that he is bisexual, said that considered quitting the race to become leader of the Liberal Democrats after he was forced to admit that he had lied about his gay past.

Mr Hughes who is the Lib Dems’ president had previously denied that he was gay but revealed today in the Sun that he has had, “both homosexual and heterosexual relationships in the past.” This morning, Mr Hughes confirmed to PinkNews.co.uk that he is “bisexual.”

“I hope that does not disqualify me from doing a good job in public life and I propose to carry on doing that with the usual enthusiasm and determination,” he added, hoping that the revelation does not bar him from continuing to stand as leader.

In an interview broadcast today on BBC Radio 5 Live, he was asked if he considered quitting the race, he replied: “Of course. I considered also whether I should stand in the first place. It is a balance I have always had to take.

“I took a decision that I would seek to keep private my private life. I have held to that decision through all the elections I have fought and it has sort of been sustainable.

“But there comes a time when it isn’t sustainable. I hope that for those listening and for other people in the year 2006, they won’t have to make the choice I did and I hope these issues won’t be as difficult in years to come.

“There must be many people out there who have wrestled with the question of can they stand for public office or are there things they fear people might bring out that would embarrass them.

“Many of those things are not illegal or inappropriate. I hope people will feel in the future less inhibited.”

He also claimed today that he is not alone in hiding his sexuality: “There are lots of people who have tried to keep their private lives private. I wasn’t just doing it for me but for many others who are in the same boat.”

He told the BBC that the decision to come out as bisexual was prompted after he was confronted with a number of untrue stories about his private life.