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Lib Dem minister Simon Hughes unseated by Labour

Nick Duffy May 8, 2015

Bisexual Lib Dem minister Simon Hughes has lost his seat to Labour.

The Lib Dem politician, who has served as Minister of State for Justice and Civil Liberties and was the UK’s most senior openly bisexual politician – lost out to Labour’s Neil Coyle.

Mr Hughes received 17,657 votes, to Mr Coyle’s 22,146. His vote was down from 21,590 (48.4%) in 2010, when then-Labour Co-op candidate Val Shadowcross received 13,060 (29.2%).

Mr Hughes has represented the constituency across a number of boundary changes since 1983, when he fought a notoriously homophobic campaign against rights activist Peter Tatchell.

The Lib Dem’s campaigners were accused of using Mr Tatchell’s sexuality to smear him in that election – with Mr Hughes later publicly apologising and coming out as bisexual himself.

He has had a mixed record on equality issues – failing to be a strong supporter of same-sex marriage, though ultimately voting for it – before recently spearheading Lib Dem efforts to clear the records of men convicted of historic gay sex offences.

During his campaign he circulated an endorsement letter from a gay Iranian man, who credits the MP with “saving his life” by intervening to help him claim asylum and escape the death penalty.

Iranian asylum seeker Medhi Kazemi was granted asylum in 2008 amid controversy surrounding his case. He wrote of Mr Hughes this month: “Simon Hughes saved my life.

“I know that there are lots of political battles about immigration, but when you know somebody will lose their life, that is when you have to fight for them and Simon did.

“I will never be able to thank Simon enough for fighting for me and the way he fights for everyone when they most need it.”

PinkNews election coverage is generously supported by KPMG.

More: Bermondsey, England, Equality, Gay, General Election 2015, LGBT, Lib Dem, liberal democrat, minister, Nick Clegg, Peter Tatchell, Rights, Simon Hughes

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