Conservative chairman, Francis Maude has revealed fears that his Party’s past anti gay policies may have been a contributing factor to his homosexual brother’s death.
In an exclusive interview with PinkNews.co.uk, he told of his sadness at the death of his openly gay brother, Charles, who died of AIDs 12 years ago and admitted that the government’s approach to gay rights in the 1980s and 1990s could have contributed to his plight.
Mr Maude told PinkNews.co.uk: “The gay scene in London in the 1980s was quite aggressively promiscuous and I think if society generally and the government I served in had been more willing to recognise gay people then there would have been less of that problem.”
“A lot of people like my brother would not have succumbed to HIV and lost their lives.”
The MP for Horsham admitted that the Conservative anti gay legislation such as Section 28 in 1988, which prohibited local councils from publishing materials on homosexuality and led to the closing of gay support groups, was an error.
He admitted the policy was “In hindsight a mistake, I voted for it, I was a minister.”
However, he claimed that there were some genuine reasons for adopting the policy, “Some local authorities were actively promoting homosexuality to school children at a time when gay sex under the age of 21 was illegal.”
Commenting on the public outing of Simon Hughes as bisexual, he added: “I thought Simon’s explanation for his secrecy was so real. He didn’t want to rub his sexuality in the nose of his elderly mother. I can appreciate it.”
“We shouldn’t criticise, that will change as time will go on. I hope we’re becoming a society where all of this matters much less and sooner it happens the better. People should be able to be more at ease with themselves.”
“Times have moved on and the Conservatives should have moved on with it much, much earlier and we didn’t. A big part of our problem more generally was that we have failed to keep pace with change in society,” he added.
Earlier this week the Conservative Party wrote to a number of openly gay figures to encourage them to apply to become an MP, as part of a target list of politicians whom the leadership want to see in Parliament.