Labour MP, Chris Bryant, joked at a debate around the Leveson Inquiry that photographs of him in his underwear taken from a gay dating profile and published by the tabloid press actually helped his majority in his constituency seat.

The MP for Rhondda since 2001 was opposing a motion at the Spectator debate last night that the Leveson Inquiry was a threat to the free press.

Joking with Daily Mail columnist, Richard LittleJohn, he said that photographs, originally published in the tabloid media, and re-published several times since by the political blog, Guido Fawkes, helped him maintain a majority in Rhondda. Paul Staines, founder of Guido Fawkes, was proposing for the motion.

“Photographs of me in my underpants published by Guido Fawkes increased my majority in the Rhondda Valley,” he said.

In 2003 the tabloid press published pictures of Mr Bryant posing in his underwear, which they procured from his Gaydar profile, alongside transcripts of sexually explicit messages he sent to other site users.

It was re-published as recently as 2012, when Bryant claimed that he was the victim of a homophobic smear campaign by the Russian Embassy in London.

He said that sometimes in the press, unfriendly stories can actually help the victim.

Proposing for the motion were Richard Littlejohn, Paul Staines, alias Guido Fawkes, and John Whittingdale MP reports the Evening Standard.

In January 2012, Bryant said, in praising a more diverse parliament, that some days a part of the Westminster complex is “virtually a gay bar”