Labour peer Chris Smith has become the first member of the House of Lords to have a civil partnership.

The former Culture Secretary, had a private ceremony with long term partner Dorian Jabri last Friday at Islington Town Hall.

The announcement was made in front of 200 guests, who turned up at the Serpentine Gallery on Saturday night assuming they were celebrating Lord Smith of Finsbury’s 55th birthday.

Ben Summerskill, chief executive of gay charity Stonewall, was one of the guests, he told PinkNews.co.uk: “It was very emotional, hankies were out, there were tear and lots of swooning.”

Lord Smith, Britain’s first openly gay MP after coming out in 1984, told PinkNews.co.uk: “I was proud to have helped to bring the legislation in and am proud to have made use of it.”

Other guests included writer Claire Rayner, actor Anthony Sher and ITV head Charles Allen.

Lord Smith has been with his partner Dorian for the past 18 years, he was awarded a life Peerage in May 2005.