International development minister Alan Duncan has said that David Laws will bounce back from the events of the last week.

Mr Duncan, who was the first Tory MP to come out, said he sympathised with Mr Laws’ secrecy over his sexual orientation.

The Liberal Democrat MP quit as Chief Secretary to the Treasury after it was revealed he broke parliamentary rules by claiming £40,000 in expenses to rent a room from his secret lover.

Writing in the New Statesman, Mr Duncan recalled his own decision to keep his sexuality secret at the beginning of his career.

He said: “Two decades ago, any Tory hopeful who had openly admitted their sexuality would have fallen at the first fence. A polite rejection would have been couched in deceptive terms – ‘We really liked you, but were looking for someone a little older’ or ‘We were hoping for someone who knew a little more about farming’.”

He continued: “I think I know what David Laws has been through. He and I have many traits in common. Apart from being a little on the short side, we have both had high-rolling commercial careers before politics, and are fairly strait-laced and conventional.

“The outward confidence conceals intense emotions and, when young and ambitious, being outwardly gay would have added a needless complication. What’s it to do with anyone else, anyway? What business is it of theirs?”

Mr Duncan said he was determined to be known as an “MP who happens to be gay” when he came out in 2002.

“It required sufficient seniority and established recognition before making the step,” he said.

On Mr Laws, he said: “He has had a bumpy moment, but he will bounce back, and will do so stronger, better known and with a reservoir of respect. I hope he does, and I for one will be rooting for him.”