Liberal Democrat MP Stephen Gilbert is to jump out of a plane to raise money for the Merlin MS charity.

The MP for St Austell and Newquay, who is openly gay,  will perform the skydive on 29 March at Perranporth Aiport. The date coincides with the first same-sex marriages to take place in England and Wales.

He said despite being scared of heights, he wanted to do the jump because “the centre helps people overcome much more every single day.”

Speaking to PinkNews, Mr Gilbert said: “I’ve always been scared of heights and even climbing a flight of stairs with a low banister can give me the heebie-jeebies – so jumping out of a plane is going to be terrifying.  I’m only taking this step because the issue of support for people with MS and other degenerative neurological conditions is so important and I want to back the great work that happens in the Merlin MS centre.  I’m going to face one of my darkest fears and I hope that the generosity of others will make this worthwhile!”.

On his JustGiving page, Mr Gilbert wrote: “Following a recent visit to the centre in Hewas Water, I decided to do my bit and somehow agreed to jump out of a plane to raise money.”

Joking, he went on: “Apologies to all those who think it’s about time a politician did this – there will be a parachute!”

Merlin’s Mission is to create a centre of excellence in Cornwall providing a range of expert care, support and therapies for those living with Multiple Sclerosis and other neurological conditions; and for their families and their carers.

A North Staffordshire skydiver last year thanked the gay community for supporting him in his efforts to do a charitable naked skydive.

Mr Gilbert has confirmed that he will keep his clothes on when he does his jump.

To donate to Mr Gilbert’s JustGiving page, please click here.