Methinks they should consider changing their party colours from Orange to Pink! Hughes reveals gay relationships
Simon Hughes recently denied being gay
Liberal Democrat leadership contender Simon Hughes has revealed having had homosexual relationships.
In an interview in the Sun newspaper, the 54-year-old said that his comments would not affect his leadership bid.
"I am perfectly willing to say I have had both homosexual and heterosexual relationships in the past," the Southwark and Bermondsey MP said.
Mark Oaten this month quit the Lib Dem front bench after his affair with a male prostitute was revealed.
Mr Oaten had already pulled out of the leadership race saying he did not have enough support among MPs.
I have always maintained that someone's sexual orientation should not be a barrier to public life in modern Britain
Mr Hughes recently denied he was gay, saying he had "often" thought about getting married but had not been "as successful as I would have liked".
Asked by the Independent whether he was gay, he replied: "No, I'm not. But it absolutely should not matter if I was."
He told the Sun it had been a mistake to be "defensive" on the issue.
Appeal for privacy
In a statement he said: "I believe that people have a right to a private life, providing that their private life does not impinge upon their public responsibilities.
"I have always maintained that someone's sexual orientation should not be a barrier to public life in modern Britain.
"I strongly believe that people should have a right to personal privacy.
"I do not believe that anything that I have done has impinged upon my capacity to serve my constituents or fulfil any of the roles that I have sought, undertaken or am seeking for the future."
Mr Hughes was elected to Parliament in 1983 in a bitter by-election battle in Bermondsey against gay Labour candidate Peter Tatchell.
In one election leaflet, the Liberals presented him as the "straight choice" and Mr Hughes this month said he hoped there would never be a campaign of that type again.
He told BBC Newsnight: "I have never been comfortable about the whole of that campaign, as Peter knows, and I said that to him in the past... Where there were things that were inappropriate or wrong, I apologise for that."
Mr Hughes faces deputy leader Sir Menzies Campbell and Treasury spokesman Chris Huhne in the leadership election.
Malcolm Bruce, one of the MPs backing Sir Menzies, said he believed the contest would be fought on political, not personal, issues.
"At the end of the day Simon is a single person and to some extent his relationships and his private life are a matter for him," Mr Bruce told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.
Fellow MP Lembit Opik said there could not be a less interesting story and Mr Hughes had merely admitted something that many people had suspected.
Mr Opik said he could understand why Mr Hughes had previously not wanted to answer questions about his sexuality.
Trevor Kavanagh, associate editor of The Sun, said Mr Hughes had decided to speak about his sexuality after being confronted with "pretty incontrovertible" evidence that he had phoned a gay chat line.
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And as I'm an Irish National, his Tonyship can still stick his ID card were the sun don't shine...