Conservative MP Crispin Blunt has spoken about his sexuality for the first time since coming out a year ago.

Speaking to US gay website The Advocate, he described how he came to terms with his sexual orientation.

Mr Blunt, 51, has not spoken about the issue since releasing a short statement announcing his separation from his wife last August.

Earlier this year, his office declined an interview request from PinkNews.co.uk.

Mr Blunt told The Advocate: “There was a mixed reaction in the [UK] gay press. Half of it was, ‘You bastard, where were you when the fight was on?’ And that’s entirely legitimate.”

In 2000, during a debate on the age of consent, he said that there is “a much greater strand of homosexuality than of heterosexuality which depends for its gratification on the exploitation of youth”.

In the interview, he said the “penny started to drop” after he was lambasted by openly gay Labour MP Ben Bradshaw for that remark.

Mr Blunt revealed that he decided to come out after an impromptu conversation with a gay couple while on holiday in Barcelona.

On taking a leadership role for gay rights, he said: “The longer I’m out and the more comfortable those closest to me become about it … I think I can then begin discussing these issues.

“I’ve ridden on the back of other people who have fought, and I’m extremely conscious of that. I do have a huge debt of gratitude to people who fought for equality.”