Pro-gay Tory MP Francis Maude to retire
Conservative MP Francis Maude, one of the first senior Tories to engage with the gay community, will not run for re-election in May.
Mr Maude has served as a minister under Margaret Thatcher, John Major and David Cameron.
He said: “We’ve been seen for a long time as a party which hasn’t been very open to gay people. That’s wrong.
“I feel very strongly about this, I had a brother who was gay and died from AIDs, 12 years ago now.
“I thought that opposing the right of gay couples to adopt was an absurd thing to do.”
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In 2013, the minister flew the rainbow flag from the Cabinet Office to mark Pride week.
The MP for Horsham announced his intention to not seek re-election in a letter to the Horsham Conservative Association.
He wrote: “This is to let you know that I have decided not to seek re-election in May. By then I will have been MP for Horsham for 18 years, following nine years previously as MP for North Warwickshire.
“I was first elected to the House of Commons in 1983 just before I was thirty, and will be nearly 67 by the time of the election in 2020.
“Public service continues to exercise great appeal. However, 27 years is a long time to serve as a Member of Parliament, and I believe now is the right time to make way for a younger candidate to carry the Conservative flag in Horsham.
“I will of course give unstinting support to the Association’s choice to succeed me.”
Francis Maude was a keynote speaker at the PinkNews 1st Birthday party in 2006, alongside Liberal Democrat Simon Hughes and then-Minister for Equalities Meg Munn.