Current Affairs

Tories publish ‘rainbow list’ of gay candidates

Jessica Geen March 8, 2010
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The Conservative Party has published a list of its out gay candidates standing for election this year.

The party has already published lists of its female and ethnic minority candidates.

According to the Mail on Sunday, the Tories have 20 out gay candidates, with 11 of these happy to be named.

The list was sent to the newspaper by Tory MP Nick Herbert, who gave a speech in Washington last month about how the party has changed its stance on homosexuality.

Mr Herbert’s spokesman said that the nine who did not wish to be named still wanted to be included on the list. Some have been named in the past.

The party has three out gay MPs – Mr Herbert, Alan Duncan and Greg Barker – and five of the 11 who wished to be named are likely to win based on current polls.

However, only one of the 11 is a lesbian. Margot James, standing for Stourbridge, will be only the second out gay woman in parliament if elected. Pensions minister Angela Eagle is currently the only lesbian.

Mr Herbert told an audience in Washington last month: “A successful political party should be open to all and ought to look something like the country it seeks to govern.

“In recent history the Conservative Party in parliament reflected only a section of our society – male, white, professional, grey-suited and straight.

“At the last election, of our 193 MPs elected, just 17 were women, only two black or minority ethnic and two were openly gay.

“If we were truly representative of the country we would have 99 women, 16 black or minority ethnic and ten gay MPs.”

Gay political commentator Iain Dale has speculated that the Conservatives have between 20 and 30 out gay candidates, with many standing for winnable seats.

Last week, the Times estimated that if the Tories win a majority of ten, they will have slightly more out gay MPs than Labour currently has.

It calculated that 2.4 per cent of Tory MPs would be gay, compared to 2.3 per cent of Labour MPs.

The 11 candidates.

In winnable seats:
Margot James, 52, Stourbridge
David Gold, 37, Eltham
Nick Boles, 44, Grantham
Iain Stewart, 27, Milton Keynes South
Mark Coote, 49, Cheltenham

Less likely to win:
Nick King, 44, Mid Dorset and North Poole
Matthew Sephton, 34, Salford and Eccles
Simon Nayyar, 42, Hackney South and Shoreditch

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