Tory MP and prisons minister Crispin Blunt has come out as gay and has separated from his wife. Mr Blunt has a mixed voting record on gay rights, including voting against equalising the age of consent.

A statement released by his office said: “Crispin Blunt wishes to make it known that he has separated from his wife, Victoria. He decided to come to terms with his homosexuality and explained the position to his family. The consequence is this separation.

“There is no third-party involvement but this is difficult for his immediate and wider family and he hopes for understanding and support for them. The family do not wish to make any further public comment and hope that their privacy will be respected as they deal with these difficult private issues.”

In 2001, Mr Blunt voted against not only the equal age of consent, but also against gay couples adopting. He also voted in favour of the bill designed to make it harder for lesbian couples to have equal access to IVF treatment.

He did not vote on the repeal of Section 28 as he was absent at the time. However, Mr Blunt did vote in favour of civil partnerships and the Equality Act (Sexual Orientation Regulation) which prevents discrimination against LGB people in the provision of goods and services.

Mr Blunt, 50 is the Conservative MP for Reigate constituency. He and his wife have been married for 20 years and have a son and daughter.