The 50 most powerful LGBT people in British politics
As we look forward to another year, we cannot help but ponder the fact that if Gordon Brown had called an autumn election we could have been hearing a very different Queen’s Speech last month.
But if the Conservatives or even the Liberal Democrats had won the election, there would be gay people at the heart of government.
The purpose of this PinkNews.co.uk Top 50 list is to demonstrate the presence of gay and lesbian people at the highest levels of British politics.
What a difference a decade makes.
In 1997 the age of consent was set higher for gay men, homophobia in schools was being exacerbated by the draconian symbolism of Section 28, lesbian and gay people had no protection at work or when accessing goods and services and had no legal recognition of their relationships.
Today every leading political party not only has gay MPs, those out politicians are on every frontbench, and at the heart of power in Downing St.
The PinkNews.co.uk Politics Top 50 list is a snapshot of those gay and lesbian people.
It is by no means definitive, and there are many figures who could have been included but opt to conceal their sexuality.
It is, we hope, a useful demonstration that in 2007 being gay, lesbian, trans or bisexual is no bar to political office.
As well as listing political figures, we have included non-politicians who nonetheless have considerable influence.
1. Spencer Livermore, 32, Director of Political Strategy, 10 Downing Street
Top of our list is a non-elected Labour adviser, but Spencer Livermore has power most MPs could only dream of.
He has worked with Gordon Brown for nearly ten years, and after strategy roles in the 2001 election and at the Treasury, in June he became one of the most powerful people in Britain as Director of Political Strategy at 10 Downing St.
He speaks to the PM several times a day and is one of the tiny inner circle that Gordon Brown turns to for strategic advice.
Spencer Livermore profile: click here
2. Nick Brown, 57, Deputy Chief Whip, MP for Newcastle upon Tyne East and Wallsend
A friend and ally of Gordon Brown since the early 1980s, he was at first close to Tony Blair as well, but by 1996 he was Gordon’s unofficial campaign manager for the leadership, and reportedly persuaded him to stand aside in favour of the telegenic Blair.
Nick Brown was appointed Chief Whip by the new Prime Minister in 1997 and was moved to Agriculture, Fisheries and Food a year later.
This effective demotion was followed by a News Of The World story that outed him, and he responded with good humour.
“It’s a lovely day. The sun is out – and so am I,” he announced to a room full of baffled farmers. His department’s poor handling of the foot and mouth outbreak led to his second demotion and he was eventually sacked in 2003.
He is immensely close to the Prime Minister, and they talk often on the phone.
While not in contact as regularly as Spencer Livermore, he is described by one Downing St insider as “the most trusted” of Gordon’s confidantes.
He continues to act as an organiser for the Brownites among the parliamentary party, was instrumental in organising Brown’s “coronation” as leader earlier this year and most of all has a rapport and bond of trust with the Prime Minister that only a 24-year alliance could forge.
3. Peter Mandelson, 54, EU Trade Commissioner
The ‘Prince of Darkness’ is one of the great survivors of British politics. Hated by many in his own party, his closeness to Labour leaders from Neil Kinnock onwards meant he has retained power and privilege despite his reputation.
Mandelson’s survival skills are legendary – a man who has been sacked twice from the Cabinet now controls one of the most important jobs in world trade, bringing his notorious slippery spin tactics to the negotiating table, just as he did as Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.
The Unionists certainly did not know what to make of this softly-spoken gay man, Brazilian boyfriend in tow, who entered the fray at a key moment in the peace process and contributed immensely to its successful conclusion.
He was outed on Newsnight in September 1998, by journalist Matthew Parris (11), who, knowing he was unlikely to get sued for libel, baldly stated ” Peter Mandelson is certainly gay.”
The hate between Brown and Mandelson is the stuff of legend.
Initially thick as thieves, Mandelson’s affections gradually drifted towards the charismatic Blair, who he supported for leader in 1994.
Brown never forgave his former ally for the betrayal, and Gordon never forgets. He has made it clear that he will not be reappointing Mandelson to the EU Commission.
Few think that the man legendary for spin, the Dome, the dodgy home loan and the Hinduja brothers scandal will settle into anonymous retirement when his Brussels term ends in 2009.
4. Angela Eagle, 46, Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, MP for Wallasey
Angela Eagle is a hero to many in the gay community as the only out lesbian in Parliament, and for her consistent hard work on gay issues, such as civil partnerships.
Recognised with the Stonewall Politician of the Year award last month, in June she was appointed to the government by Gordon Brown, in the newly-revived position of Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury.
She served in a series of junior posts under Tony Blair until he sacked her in 2002.
Close to deputy leader Harriet Harman and well-regarded by Gordon Brown, she is also popular in the party, and is a member of Labour’s governing body, the National Executive Committee.
She came out a matter of weeks after Tony Blair was elected, and her frank interview in The Observer was a special moment in lesbian history in the UK.
Angela Eagle was elected to Parliament in 1992. Five years later her twin sister Maria joined her, making them the first twins ever to be elected to the House of Commons.
5. Ben Bradshaw, 47, Minister of State for Health Services, MP for Exeter
In the 1997 general election Ben Bradshaw fought a notoriously homophobic opponent, and went on to win Exeter with with a majority of 11,705.
A former BBC journalist, he was appointed to the government in 2001, and has held several junior positions. He is regarded as a safe pair of hands, an intelligent and successful minister, although his profile is somewhat low.
In 2006 he became the first MP to have a civil partnership ceremony, but it was a relatively low-key affair in the wake of Sir Elton John and David Furnish’s nuptials.
He is currently Minister of State at the Department of Health.
6. Andrew Pierce, 46, Assistant Editor, Daily Telegraph
A ball of giggles, gossip, scandal and kinetic energy, Pierce is an interesting mix of rebel and establishment figure. He was an out and proud political correspondent when such things were regarded as scandalous (1988), yet these days he moves in Royal circles and seems to know every important person in London.
His career has been spent at the right-wing end of the newspaper spectrum; he left The Times after nearly 20 years to take up the assistant editor role at the Daily Telegraph.
Memorably dubbed a “gay gadfly from Swindon’s best council estate” by The Independent, he usually has enough Westminster gossip to fill a diary section every day, and can’t wait to tell you all the gory details.
7. Ben Summerskill, 46, Chief Executive, Stonewall
When he speaks, people listen. Since taking Stonewall by the scruff of the neck in 2003, Ben Summerskill has transformed the organisation into a solvent, highly effective campaigning machine, regarded with fear and admiration in equal measure.
Whether giving evidence to MPs, lobbying peers, speaking out against homophobic bullying or marching in the pouring rain at Pride London, Summerskill is the face of Stonewall and its most effective asset.
He is on first-name terms with most of the Cabinet and is ridiculously well-informed, with a dry, caustic sense of humour. While his reputation as a boss is fearsome, his charm has helped oil the wheels of government in favour of gay rights.
A former assistant editor of The Observer, his mastery of the media has pushed Stonewall’s visibility to an all-time high, and during his tenure landmark protections for gay people have become law.
The appearance of Prime Minister Tony Blair at a Stonewall fund-raising event was a person highlight of 2007 for Summerskill, but 2008 will find him ensuring the Equality Act is effective and that gay children are protected at school.
8. Nick Herbert, 44, Shadow Secretary of State for Justice, MP for Arundel and South Downs
Herbert is one of those politicians that stands out. Smart, clubbable and hard to dislike, this fox-hunting enthusiast from Sussex is destined for high office in a future Tory administration.
The first out gay man to be elected for the party, he and his boyfriend Jason seem anything but ground-breaking in their constituency, where the local Conservatives seem to have taken to the pair without dwelling on the fact of their sexuality.
Herbert is currently making a name for himself shadowing Jack Straw at Justice, and has made some well-regarded, if under-reported, initiatives on prison reform.
While light on experience, he is the subject of high hopes among political watchers as a future leading light of the progressive Tories.
He could even lead the party one day, becoming their first, or possibly second, gay leader.
9. Michael Cashman, 56, Labour MEP for the West Midlands
The most vocal gay advocate in the European Parliament, Cashman is Chair of the Intergroup on LGBT Rights and has represented the West Midlands since 1999.
A member of Labour’s ruling NEC, he is an influential figure in the party and close enough to Tony Blair to have been invited to Chequers with his civil partner, Paul Cottingham, on several occasions.
In the European Parliament he has been a tireless campaigner on a range of issues, yet seems to have reconciled himself to the fact that in the minds of most people, he will always be Colin, the gay one off EastEnders.
His character was groundbreaking, the first to have a gay kiss on a UK soap. Around 17 million people saw it, The Sun was outraged, and another small victory for gay visibility had been won.
Cashman has been fighting for more victories, big and small, ever since. In 1988 he was one of the founding members of Stonewall.
10. Stephen Williams, 41, Liberal Democrat spokesman for Innovation, Universities and Skills, MP for Bristol West
The first out gay Liberal Democrat MP, Stephen Williams is well-respected in the party for his sterling work on homophobic bullying.
His support for Nick Clegg in the recent leadership election has seen him promoted into the Liberal Democrat “shadow Cabinet” with responsibility for Innovation, Universities and Skills.
While keen not to be seen as “gay MP” he has been a steadfast supporter of gay rights measures, in particular combating bullying in schools.
With a major boundary change to his constituency before the next election, Williams spends a considerable amount of time in his Bristol constituency.
If he can retain the seat, there is the possibility he might find himself in government in the event of a hung parliament.
11. Matthew Parris, 58, journalist and broadcaster
Probably the UK’s most influential gay commentator, Matthew Parris’ regular columns in The Times and numerous TV appearances have made him a well-loved presence in British politics.
A former correspondence secretary to Margaret Thatcher and later a Tory MP, he has carved a niche for himself as a national treasure, but his quiet insistence on gay equality has always set him apart from his Tory colleagues.
In 1998 he outed Peter Mandelson (3) during an edition of Newsnight.
Matthew Parris once jumped into the Thames to rescue a dog, and was awarded with an RSPCA medal.
In 2006 he entered into a civil partnership with his boyfriend of many years, John Glover (19).
12. Paul Jenkins, Treasury Solicitor
Appointed in 2006 as Her Majesty’s Procurator General, Treasury Solicitor and Head of the Government Legal Service, Paul Jenkins is probably the most influential civil servant on our list.
He oversees legal services to other departments in England and Wales and runs one of the largest legal organisations in the UK.
He joined the government legal service in 1979, has served as a litigator and adviser to half a dozen departments and was formerly Solicitor to both the Department for Work and Pensions and the Department of Health.
13. Gregory Barker, 43, Shadow Environment Secretary, MP for Battle and Bexhill
After a bruising experience being outed by the Daily Mirror, Greg Barker seems at ease in his new role at the latest gay Tory MP, attending a National AIDS Trust reception at a Soho bar earlier this month.
He confirmed he is gay earlier this year. After separating amicably from his wife he became romantically involved with antiques dealer William Banks-Blaney.
His treatment at the hands of the tabloids gave David Cameron a good opportunity to show his gay-friendly credentials, and he backed his political ally and friend in public and in private.
His closeness to the Tory leader – Barker, as the party’s environment spokesman, accompanied Dave on his Arctic adventure – is the reason he is rated above other gay Shadow Cabinet members.
14. Howell James CBE, Permanent Secretary, Government Communications
A former head of publicity at TV-am, BBC director of corporate affairs and political secretary to John Major, Howell James moved between the government and private sector until his appointment as the first permanent secretary for the Government Information and Communications Service in 2003.
A gregarious, lively figure, he is ridiculously well-connected, and whether dining with Princes William and Harry or recounting his days at Downing St at a gay networking event, he is always good value for money.
His wide brief in managing all non-political communications came in the wake of the Alistair Campbell years and he reports directly to the Head of the Civil Service, Sir Gus O’Donnell.
15. Alan Duncan, 50, Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform. MP for Rutland and Melton
Compact, suave and beautifully presented, Alan Duncan is the liberal, urbane face of the Conservative party.
He became the first Tory MP to voluntarily come out, in 2002, has been a frontbench presence for nearly a decade and is a nimble Commons performer.
Duncan has a devoted following among some gay Tories, and he has certainly spoken up in favour of gay rights, often disagreeing, politely, with many of his own colleagues.
His style and politics sit well with Cameron, and he can expect to retain a high profile presence on the frontbench.
16. Adam Price, 39, Plaid Cymru MP for Carmarthen East and Dinefwr
One of two Welsh nationalist MPs, Adam Price has been fermenting revolt in the principality of late, threatening to go to jail rather than pay his TV licence in protest at the lack of Welsh news programming.
The son of a coal miner, he was central to recent negotiations over Plaid Cymru’s involvement in the new Welsh government, bringing the party into power for the first time.
At Westminster he exposed the link between Tony Blair and the Indian steel magnet Lakshmi Mittal and tried to have the Prime Minister impeached for going to war in Iraq.
Voted the Western Mail’s Greatest Living Welsh Politician in 2006, he is tipped as a future leader of Plaid.
17. Margot James, Conservative prospective parliamentary candidate for Stourbridge
A Tory party vice chairman and self-made millionaires, as she hates to be described, Margot James is openly gay, a confident and intelligent speaker and likely to be a Tory leading light if she gets to Westminster at the next election.
A Kensington and Chelsea councillor, she lives with her partner, BBC TV presenter Jay Hunt.
She is highly rated by David Cameron, and was an A-List candidate when selected for Stourbridge, in the West Midlands, exactly the sort of seat David Cameron’s Conservatives must win back at the next election if they are to stand a chance of taking power.
18. Simon Hughes, 56, President of the Liberal Democrats. MP for North Southwark and Bermondsey
A veteran MP and another survivor of a tabloid outing, Simon Hughes is both powerful and popular among Liberal Democrats as their elected party president.
His bid for Mayor of London failed in 2004 and his leadership prospects were sunk by revelations he had been calling a gay chatline.
He first came out as bisexual in an interview with PinkNews.co.uk after the tabloids labelled him as gay.
Hughes was first elected in the notoriously homophobic 1983 Bermondsey by-election, where he beat the Labour candidate, Peter Tatchell (22).
19. Waheed Alli, Baron Alli, 43, Labour Peer
Waheed Alli is a TV genius, a committed gay rights champion and successful businessman. He even finds time to speak in the Lords.
He left school at 16, had a highly successful career in magazine publishing and then in investment banking, before joining forces with his partner Charlie Parsons to produce legendary TV shows such as The Word.
Made a life peer at the age of 34, he was, preposterously, the only openly gay person in the House, as well as the youngest.
His softly-spoken manner has endeared him to many peers, but his honest, effective, moving and forthright speeches on gay matters have earned him admirers in all political parties.
Lord Alli is believed to have convinced Tony Blair not to grant an exemption of the Sexual Orientation regulations to Catholic adoption agencies that would have allowed them to ban gay couples from jointly adopting children.
20. Julian Glover, journalist and author
The chief leader writer on The Guardian, Julian Glover is one of the most influential voices on the paper.
Despite his leftist credentials, he helped John Major write his memoirs and in 2006 he entered into a civil partnership with his boyfriend of many years, Matthew Parris (11).
21. Brian Paddick, 49, Liberal Democrat candidate for Mayor of London.
Until May he was the most senior gay police officer in the UK, but even if he wasn’t it would be likely you would have heard of Brian Paddick.
He has a knack for generating headlines, from his policy on cannabis while borough commander of Lambeth to his revelations about what London’s senior police officers knew about the shooting of an innocent commuter Jean Charles de Menezes.
A biography due next year, which will deal frankly with his gay experiences as a constable and his five year marriage, should coincide nicely with the campaign for Mayor of London.
Of most concern is his tendency to say the wrong thing to the media, which has continued to land him in trouble.
22. Nick Boles, 42, Conservative prospective parliamentary candidate for Grantham and Stamford
The ultimate Cameroon, Nick Boles narrowly failed to take the decidedly gay seat of Hove in 2005.
A former director of think tank Policy Exchange, he was the frontrunner to become the Tory candidate for Mayor of London until illness intervened, but bounced back when he was selected to fight the seat Margaret Thatcher grew up in.
Close friends with David and Samantha Cameron, Michael Gove and George Osborne, he is at the centre of the Notting Hill cabal currently steering the Tory party in a new direction and is certain to form part of any future Cameron administration.
23. Peter Tatchell, 55, Green party parliamentary prospective candidate for Oxford East
Currently celebrating 40 years of campaigning, Peter Tatchell is probably the best-known gay rights activist in the UK.
In recent years he has concentrated on broader human rights issues, becoming a hero to the Daily Mail for attempting to perform a citizen’s arrest on the President of Zimbabwe and being beaten savagely for his trouble.
He is a regular TV and radio commentator, and with his nomination as a Green party candidate at the next election, there is a slim hope he might become an MP more than 25 years after his defeat in Bermondsey, where he faced unmasked homophobia as the Labour candidate.
Fearless in his opinions, he regards civil partnerships as a form of apartheid, compares the Pope to Hitler and makes most of us feel vaguely guilty we do not do enough to fight for gay rights.
24. Patrick Harvie, 34, Green MSP for Glasgow Region
Re-elected this year despite the best efforts of evangelical Christian groups, Patrick Harvie was nominated to convene the Transport, Infrastructure and Climate Change Committee in the Scottish parliament.
The Greens lent support to the minority SNP government, and he has used his new prominence to promote homophobic hate crimes legislation and other gay rights issues.
25. Dan Ritterband, 32, director of Boris Johnson’s campaign for Mayor of London
Tories, with the possible exception of Theresa May, are not known for their sartorial sophistication, but Dan Ritterband certainly stands out.
He is currently the impeccably-dressed campaign director for Boris’ bid, appointed by David Cameron.
An ex-ad man, he worked in Michael Howard’s private office and was a member of the Cameron leadership campaign team, but he will need all his charm and skill to keep Boris away from potential gaffes.
Regardless of what happens in London next May, he will be working closely with communications chief Steve Hilton on the Conservative election strategy.
26. Chris Bryant, 45, Labour MP for Rhondda
Once tipped for high office, it seems the curse of Gaydar continues to hang over Chris Bryant.
In 2003 The Sun brought to light pictures of the former Anglican priest posing in his underwear, which they procured from his Gaydar profile.
Despite that setback, he has worked hard in Parliament and spoken in favour of gay rights at every opportunity.
One of the MPs behind a plot to oust Tony Blair in 2006, he may have hoped for promotion under Gordon Brown but remains on the first rung of the ministerial ladder as parliamentary private secretary to Secretary of State for Equality Harriet Harman.
27. Ray Collins, assistant general secretary, Unite
With Labour looking for a new general secretary, many close to the Prime Minister are encouraging support for Ray Collins.
As assistant general secretary of the TGWU, he has helped steer the union into a merger with Amicus, creating Unite, one of the largest trade unions in the country.
Peter Watt, who resigned as Labour’s general secretary in the wake of the Abrahams scandal after claiming he did not know that third-party donations are illegal, beat Collins, Tony Blair’s choice, to the post in November 2005.
28. Iain Dale, 45, blogger
Loved and loathed by his own party in equal measure, Iain Dale has used the internet to its full potential and transformed himself from failed parliamentary candidate to one of the most listened-to Tory pundits in the UK.
His blog Iain Dale’s Diary is one of the most popular and influential around Westminster and among the party grassroots, and it has led to a regular column in the Daily Telegraph and numerous TV and radio appearances.
He reportedly still harbours ambitions to become an MP, and has been talked about as a possible successor to Ann Widdecombe in Maidstone and the Weald when she stands down at the next election.
29. Michael Portillo, 54, political commentator
He could have led his party, instead Michael Portillo no longer sits in Parliament and devotes his time to TV work and journalism.
He is known to a whole new generation of political watchers as Diane Abbott’s comedy partner, but to many he is the face of Tory defeat, when he lost his safe seat in 1997 to an out gay Labour candidate.
Portillo did his own bit of coming out in 2001, when he admitted to ” youthful homosexual dalliances.”
Whether this revelation harmed his chances of leading the Tories is debatable, but the right-wing press were in uproar.
The revelation he had an eight-year affair with gay rights campaigner Nigel Hart gave the impression he was being less than truthful.
Norman Tebbitt certainly thought so when he accused him of lying about the extent of his “sexual deviance.”
Michael Portillo has been married to Carolyn Eadie since 1982.
30. Chris Smith, Lord Smith of Finsbury, 56, Labour Peer
The MP for Islington South and Finsbury from 1983 to 2005, Chris Smith was the first MP to come out, the first out man to be appointed to the Cabinet and the first MP to reveal that he is HIV+.
A hero to many in the gay community, he continues to argue for LGBT rights in the Lords, where he is a highly-respected figure.
A former Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, he retains strong links with the arts world.
Convivial, agile and intelligent, he came out in 1984, blazing the trail for many others on this list.
31. Iain Smith, 47, Liberal Democrat MSP for North East Fife
Elected to the first Scottish parliament in 1999, Iain Smith was previously Sir Menzies Campbell’s election agent and is tipped to inherit the North East Fife constituency when the former leader stands down.
He is Convenor of the Education Committee and one of three LGB MSPs.
32. Margaret Smith, 46, Liberal Democrat MSP for Edinburgh West
Only the third lesbian politician on our list, Margaret Smith outed herself in 2003 ahead of a Sunday tabloid story.
A mother of two children from a previous marriage, she entered into a civil partnership with her partner Suzanne Main in 2006.
Just before the ceremony Rangers and Trinidad and Tobago player Marvin Andrews said his church could “cure” her of lesbianism.
33. Alan Wardle, public affairs director, Local Government Association
It will be hard for Alan Wardle to top his multiple achievements as Stonewall’s chief lobbyist, but after four years in the job this effective and well-connected Scot left earlier this year for the LGA.
34. David Borrow, 55, Labour MP for South Ribble
One of the Labour multitude elected in the 1997 landslide, David Borrow came out in 1998 during the age of consent debate. A former valuations tribunal clerk, he entered into a civil partnership in 2006.
35. Clive Betts, 57, Labour MP for Sheffield Attercliffe
Elected in 1992, Clive Betts was outed by The Sun in 2003.
As Chair of the Parliamentary Football Club has tabled motions about homophobia in the game and lent his support to the Gay and Lesbian Football Association World Championship 2008 in London.
36. Steven Purcell, 34, Labour leader of Glasgow City Council
Elected unopposed as the leader of Scotland’s largest city council two years ago, at the tender age of 32, Steven Purcell was recently tipped as a future Scottish Labour leader.
Described as charismatic and capable, he helped secure the Commonwealth Games for Glasgow in 2014. One to watch.
37. Steve Reed, Labour leader of Lambeth Council
When he gained control of the council last year in a surprise result, which bucked the national trend, Steve Reed was feted as a ‘model’ local government leader.
Widely admired in Labour circles, he is the frontrunner to take Streatham when sitting MP Keith Hill retires at the next election.
38. Brian Coleman, 46, Conservative member of the London Assembly
In practical terms, Brian Coleman is probably more influential both in London government and across the party than any of his Tory Assembly colleagues.
Known for his incendiary journalism, he recently accused the Metropolitan Police Commissioner of being drunk at public functions and claimed that former Prime Minister Edward Heath went cruising for gay sex.
39. Darren Johnson, 43, Green member of the London Assembly
Before Peter Tatchell joined the Greens, Darren Johnson was probably the most influential gay member of the party.
He was the Green candidate for Mayor of London in 2000 and 2004. Lives in Brockley with his long-term partner and fellow Lewisham councillor Dean Walton.
40. Sir Simon Milton, 45, Conservative leader of Westminster City Council
As well as chairing the influential Local Government Association, Sir Simon Milton oversees one of the most important boroughs in the country.
Knighted in the 2006 New Year’s Honours List, he publicly declared his sexuality and married his long-term partner Councillor Robert Davis at The Ritz hotel earlier this year.
41. Richard Barnes, Conservative member of the London Assembly
A Hillingdon borough councillor since 1982 and former council leader, Richard Barnes has served on the London Assembly and takes a special interest in policing and security.
A partner of Richard’s died of AIDS several years ago and he has been active in HIV charities since then.
42. Rodney Berman, 38, Liberal Democrat Leader of Cardiff Council
Probably the most influential gay Liberal Democrat in local government, Rodney Berman runs Wales’ biggest city.
Born and educated in Glasgow, he unsuccessfully ran for Parliament in 1997 and 2001. Entered into a civil partnership at the city’s Mansion House last year with ITV Wales political correspondent Nick Speed.
43. Jenny Bailey, 45, Liberal Democrat mayor of Cambridge
Although the role is largely ceremonial, Jenny Bailey’s election as mayor of one of the country’s best-known cities was a huge moment for trans visibility in the UK.
Coverage of her transition was mostly sensitive, and her elevation was reported across the world.
She has become an all-too-rare trans role model in British life. Ms Bailey chose her partner Jennifer Liddle, who also underwent gender reassignment surgery, to serve as Mayoress.
44. Philip Hensher, 42, journalist
The author, critic and journalist Philip Hensher worked as a House of Commons clerk for six years, and no doubt his observations there inform his often funny, sometimes surreal comment pieces in The Independent.
Won the Stonewall award for Journalist of the Year 2007, a companion piece to the Somerset Maugham Award he won for his 1996 novel Kitchen Venom.
45. Angela Mason CBE, 63, adviser
As head of the government’s Women Equality Unit from 2003 until earlier this year Angela Mason was instrumental in pushing forward gay rights legislation.
A lawyer, former radical and previous director of Stonewall, she has worked hard to change civil service attitudes. Currently works as an adviser to the Improvement and Development Agency.
46. Johann Hari, 28, journalist
He has fallen out with George Galloway, won armfuls of awards, beginning with Student Journalist of the Year in 2000, and remains one of the most original writers in British journalism. And he isn’t even 30 yet.
Nearly got beaten up at the BAFTA awards by James Bond, aka Daniel Craig, for commenting on his pecs and not his acting.
47. Seb Dance, 26, special adviser to the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
A fun-loving exterior masks Seb Dance’s quick mind, and his recent appointment by Shaun Woodward indicates his star is on the rise.
He previously worked with Woodward as his parliamentary researcher, and also worked as a lobbyist for Digital UK. Lives in London with his boyfriend Spencer Livermore (1).
48. Mark Meredith, 42, Labour Mayor of Stoke-on-Trent
In an unusual and largely unreported election in 2005, Mark Meredith became the first gay man to oust another gay man as directly elected Mayor of Stoke-on-Trent.
The election was his first – he had never stood as a candidate before. He now controls a city of 239,000 people.
49. Mike Wolfe, 56, former independent Mayor of Stoke-on-Trent
An honourable mention for the man defeated by number 48. In 2002 Mike Wolfe was the man who pushed the idea of a directly-elected mayor for the city, then resigned from the Labour party, ran for the job as an independent, and won.
50. Pav Akhtar, Labour party councillor, Lambeth
He came within 28 votes of becoming President of the National Union of Students, but Pav Akhtar claimed a potent mix of Islamophobia and homophobia denied him victory.
The first non-white President of the Cambridge University Students Union, Pav worked as a journalist for the Daily Telegraph and is now employed by UNISON, the trade union.
And what of the ones we missed?
The PinkNews.co.uk Top 50 was never meant to be a definitive list of all the LGBT people in British politics.
There are those our lawyers advised us not to include, everyone from Elvis-loving party donors to MPs who seem to think everyone around them is blind, stupid and unaware they are being groped.
Then there are those whose sexuality we pondered on, but ultimately decided it would be up to them to out themselves, rather than let us do it for them.
Perhaps you think you should be on the list, and now feel like you have not been acknowledged. Do let us know.
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