The UK has appointed an openly gay man as ambassador to Cambodia.

Mark Gooding, who is in a civil partnership with education specialist Dr Christopher McCormick, will take up his new post in September.

He joined the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in 1999 and has been the deputy high commissioner to Sri Lanka and the Maldives and political and economic Consul at the British Consulate General in Shanghai.

Mr Gooding has also been a private secretary to the Foreign Secretary and head of the EU budget team.

He said: “I am honoured and delighted to be appointed HM Ambassador to the Kingdom of Cambodia.

“The UK and Cambodia have strong shared interests in a variety of fields, including trade, development, tourism, climate change, security, and human rights. I look forward to developing further the strong ties that already exist between our two countries and to creating new partnerships in the years ahead.”

Homosexuality is legal in Cambodia, although gay people cannot legally marry. Cambodian culture recognises a ‘third gender’, although many face housing and employment issues.