Liberal Democrat MP Lynne Featherstone has been appointed a junior minister with responsibility for equality.

She will be working under equality minister Theresa May, having been the Liberal Democrats’ spokeswoman for equality since 2007.

Ms Featherstone, the MP for Hornsey and Wood Green, was appointed as part of the coalition government and joins a number of Liberal Democrats given cabinet or ministerial positions.

Since being elected in 2005, she has kept a good gay rights voting record and is one of the few MPs to have explicitly championed trans rights.

Ms Featherstone could not be contacted for comment this afternoon but wrote on her blog that the post was a “huge opportunity to change things for the better”.

She wrote: “For two years as shadow equalities spokesperson – through the Equality Bill, through countless speeches to groups , through our conference policy papers on women and youth – it has always been about what Lib Dems would do about equality if we were in government. Blimey – we are!”

Ms Featherstone said she was “optimistic” about securing most of her party’s election equality promises.

She added: “Will I get our whole agenda agreed? Well I might – but there are a few things I can see causing ructions – but I am optimistic about most of it.”

Her new boss, Mrs May, has had her own past voting record scrutinised this week.

She voted for civil partnerships on one occasion but was absent or voted against most gay equality measures. Those she voted against included repealing Section 28 and allowing gay couples the right to adopt together.

On Wednesday, she told Channel 4 News: “Certainly there were some votes I wasn’t present for. But what we intend to do in government is taking forward an agenda on equalities across the whole range of equalities.

“In this particular issue we have some very real commitments, for example in terms of homophobic bullying in schools.”