David Laws, the former Chief Secretary to the Treasury, says his parents, family and friends have accepted his sexual orientation “without hesitation”.

The Liberal Democrat MP said he had been “pretty stupid” to keep it secret and it was a “huge relief” to be able to introduce them to his partner.

He had to come out to his loved ones at the weekend after it was revealed he broke Commons rules by using expenses to claim rent in a property owned by his secret boyfriend James Lundie.

The 44-year-old previously said he felt compelled to hide his sexuality because being gay was not acceptable when he was younger.

Mr Laws told the Western Daily Press: “I guess it was pretty stupid really, because all of the people I have spoken to since Friday have accepted it without hesitation: my parents, family and friends. Not being honest with them has meant a huge price over recent years. I have had to keep a large part of my life secret.”

He added: “I have heard from lots of friends over the past few days who said it didn’t matter to them, or they didn’t care about my sexuality, and to be able to meet them in the future, to be honest with them, to meet them with James, will be a huge relief.”

Mr Laws said he could have challenged the Daily Telegraph on its story on his expenses but chose not to because he believed it would mean “living in fear forever”.

The MP has referred himself to the parliamentary expenses watchdog.

Yesterday, Liberal Democrat leader and deputy prime minister Nick Clegg said he could return as a minister if his expenses claims are cleared up.