First out gay Lib Dem MP Stephen Williams loses his seat
The Liberal Democrats’ first out gay MP Stephen Williams has lost his Bristol West seat after a devastating night for his party.
Formerly Communities Minister, Mr Williams, who came out as gay prior to winning in Bristol West in 2005, was the first Lib Dem to win the seat since 1935, and became the party’s first out MP.
He came third in the race with 12,103 votes, behind the Green Party’s Darren Hall who received 17,227 and Labour’s Thangam Debbonaire who was elected with 22,900 votes.
A strong advocate of LGBT rights, in particular same-sex marriage, Mr Williams last year called for a zero tolerance approach to homophobia in football, and about businesses refusing to serve gay couples for their weddings.
He said: “It seems quite shocking that anyone would turn down business from someone based on their sexual orientation, and therefore would spoil their special day.
“It’s not just wrong, it’s illegal to discriminate against people when you are providing goods and services, you should not discriminate on the grounds of sexuality or race.”
A long-term advocate for same-sex marriage, Mr Williams gave an address saying it was one of the “great social reforms of this Parliament”, and said he was waiting for “Prince Charming”.
Mr Williams, who was selected by the Chief Whip to make the address, has been a long-term supporter of changing the law and served on the public bills committee that has taken the bill through some of its Parliamentary process.
Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg is expected to step down today. He retained his Sheffield Hallam consituency