Gay MP Chris Bryant: Public wouldn’t have sacked me over Gaydar photos
Labour MP for the Rhondda Chris Bryant has backed the MP Recall bill, and says his constituents would not have removed him when tabloids published photos from his gay dating profile.
In 2003 the tabloid press published pictures of Mr Bryant posing in his underwear from gay dating site Gaydar – alongside transcripts of sexually explicit messages he sent to other site users.
The MP Recall Bill, which is currently progressing through parliament, would give constituents the power to unseat MPs over poor conduct, if a number sign a petition
Speaking in the House of Commons yesterday, Mr Bryant said: “In 2003, I got into a bit of trouble with the electorate, with the Mail On Sunday, with a whole load of journalists because it was revealed by the Mail On Sunday that I had been using a gay dating website called Gaydar.
“There was one male journalist who said to me that they in their office were taking bets on when I would commit suicide.
“So I understand that that was a campaign that was I think run in a malevolent way at the time. But I still say it would have been perfectly legitimate for some of my constituents to say let’s start recall.
“People could legitimately ask about my conduct… But I also have absolute confidence in the electorate and the people of the Rhondda and for that matter the people of this country.”
He added that an opinion poll at the time found that the majority of constituents supported him remaining as an MP.
He said: “So I say having gone through that hell in November 2003, it is perfectly legitimate and the wise thing for us to do is to in the end leave it to the public as long as you make sure the threshold is decent enough that it isn’t just people being vexatious, as long as big money can’t determine the outcome.”
“Yes let’s have recall. I think this is an important next stage in the democratic process.
“We have to open up that sliver, just a little sliver of democracy into the political process here. Because the leviathan is groaning.”