Commenting on the resignation of Conservative MP Mark Menzies as a ministerial aide following allegations made by a male prostitute, Telegraph columnist Toby Young says it’s time for all gay MPs to come out.

Mr Menzies resigned yesterday as Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) to International Development Minister Alan Duncan after an investigation by the Sunday Mirror.

The paper reported a series of allegations about Mr Menzies’ private life which it said had been made by a Brazilian male escort, including claims that the MP paid him for sex and asked him to buy an illegal drug.

Writing for Telegraph.co.uk, Toby Young said: “I feel terribly sorry for Mark Menzies, the Conservative MP who’s resigned as a PPS following tabloid revelations and allegations about his private life. Clearly, the ‘revelation’ here isn’t just the fact that Menzies is gay. He’s also accused of paying a male prostitute for sex, among other things. But that fact that he’s a Conservative member of the Government and gay gives the scandal more tabloid resonance.”

Young continued: “What can the Conservatives do to lessen their exposure to these sorts of scandals in future? The solution, I believe, is for all gay and lesbian Conservative MPs to come out in a very public, headline-grabbing way.

“Not that many of them are ‘in the closet’ in the conventional sense of the term, i.e. leading a double life in which they’re pretending to be happily married. Most are bachelors who are neither in the closet nor out of it, but in a kind of antechamber where they don’t pretend to be straight but, at the same time, don’t draw attention to their homosexuality either.”

The journalist suggested the weekend arrival of equal marriage in England and Wales should give Tory MPs the courage to come out.

Young added: “Well, I think the time has come for them to draw attention to it. What has previously gone unmentioned, tacitly accepted within the party with a nod and a wink but not publicly acknowledged, should now be brought out into the open. And what better time for the pink ’n’ blues to come out than right now, when same-sex marriage has just become legal thanks in large part to the leader of the Conservative Party?”

Young said it would make MPs who are in the closet “less vulnerable to blackmail”. The journalist also believes “it would be a small contribution to reducing the sense of taboo and the accompanying hostility that’s still conjured up by homosexuality in some sections of the Tory party”.