Sir Vince Cable: My Liberal hero Roy Jenkins was a bisexual man
Lib Dem leader Sir Vince Cable has spoken about the sexuality of former Home Secretary Roy Jenkins at the PinkNews Awards.
Former Labour politician Roy Jenkins was one of the founders of the Social Democratic Party, which later merged into the Liberal Democrats.
The leader of the Liberal Democrats, Sir Vince Cable, hailed Jenkins as his “hero” in a speech at the PinkNews Awards.
Speaking at the event, Sir Vince said: “It’s a pleasure and a privilege to be here and pledge my personal support and my party’s support for entrenching the freedoms and rights of LGBT people, building on the work in the Coalition introducing equal marriage.”
He added: “I want to highlight a number of individual heroes. A hero of mine and my party was a man called Roy Jenkins, who introduced the Sexual Offences Act [to partially decriminalise gay sex] 50 years ago.
“What was not known until recently was that Roy was a bisexual man, and the great love of his life when he was a student was a man called Anthony Crosland, another great Social Democrat.
“But because it was a criminal offence, the whole relationship was never discussed until after Roy Jenkins died.”
Jenkins died in 2003.
His sexuality was not discussed during his lifetime, but was revealed in 2014 biography ‘Roy Jenkins: A Well Rounded Life’.
The book revealed how Jenkins and Crosland, the future Home Secretary and Foreign Secretary, fell in love after meeting at University.
However, Jenkins later married Jennifer Morris, his wife of 58 years.
Sir Vince also paid tribute to Alan Turing.
The MP for Twickenham added: “The other individual I want to highlight and another great hero is a former resident of my constituency, Alan Turing, who you all now know.
“You know the story, he was a great war hero who saved the lives of countless thousands of people through his work on cryptography. He then developed a machine that we now call the computer.
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“But he suffered a terrible and barbaric punishment of chemical castration, and then suicide. It’s only recently, as a result of a lot of campaigners in this hall, that his memory has been revived, and the Queen pardoned him in retrospect.
“The final touch, which I think is a great step, is that the latest school to open in my constituency is the Turing House Academy. He’s not just a hero of LGBT people but the whole community, and we’re truly proud of him.”
Elsewhere at the awards Jeremy Corbyn presented an award to Labour’s first openly gay MP Chris Smith.
The PinkNews Awards is generously supported by Lloyds Banking Group