The UK government’s Scottish Secretary David Mundell has come out as gay.
The MP for Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale is the only Scottish Conservative MP – and has served as David Cameron’s Secretary of State for Scotland since May.
Mr Mundell opened up about his sexuality today in a blog, writing: “I have already set out my political priorities for the year and now I am setting out my personal one.
“Having taken one of the most important decisions of my life and resolved to come out publically as gay in 2016, I just want to get on with it, and now, just like that, I have said it.
“How can it be both so easy and so hard to say a few short words?”
By coming out as gay, Mr Mundell becomes the first out cabinet member since Lib Dem David Laws left the cabinet in 2010.
He added of staying in the closet: “I still cannot fully rationalise such feelings, but I know they are not uncommon, particularly in men of my age.
“Of course, everybody who gets to this point, has had their own journey. I have certainly been on mine – conflicting emotions, of doubts and fears, but ultimately positive and uplifting, with an unstoppable direction of travel.
“Over time, I came to understand that, for me, the only way to be truly happy on a personal level is to acknowledge in public as well as in private, who I am.”
He continued: “Other than the intensely personal and positive difference it makes to me, and the way I can live my life, my hope is that my coming out doesn’t change anything else about how I go about my work or how people treat me.
“Gender and sexuality should make no difference whether you are a Cabinet Minister or in any other walk of life and I hope that I can, in my own way, reinforce that message.”
A spokesperson for PM David Cameron praised the decision, adding: “The Prime Minister is delighted that he’s in a position to take this step.”
Ruth Davidson, the leader of the Scottish Tories, said: “I know that David didn’t make today’s statement lightly, but approached it in his typically thoughtful and positive manner.
“He has my wholehearted support, as well as the support of the wider Scottish Conservative family.”