Suspended MP accuses newspapers of homophobia

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The Conservative MP suspended from the House of Commons after it emerged that he his son and his friend were given public funds in breach of Parliamentary rules has publically defended his gay son and accused the media of homophobia.

Derrick Conway paid his son out of Parliamentary expenses whilst he was a full time student in Newcastle. A number of tabloid newspapers have focused on Henry Conway’s sexuality.

“We have known that he has been gay for a long time,” Mr Conway told The Mail on Sunday.

“We aren’t ashamed of it. He’s a lovely boy and we have always supported him,” he added.

“Yes, he runs a club night at the Mahiki nightclub in London. It is his job. He is earning a living.

“He goes out as normal people go to bed. It is portrayed as a gay lad bouncing round London; drink, drugs, whatever.

“It is hard to watch when you know he has committed no crime.

“One newspaper even tried to suggest that he’d had a sex-change on the NHS.

“It is complete rubbish. These homophobic clowns think every gay wants to be a woman.

“Why should he be pilloried for being gay? He’s my son.”

Mr Conway said: “I know many MPs with family members who have different names registered, so they are not so obviously spotted. Some spouses work under maiden names.”

Last week, Mr Conway announced he would be stepping down from Parliament at the next election after being censured by the Commons Standards and Privileges Committee for paying his son Frederick £50,000 of public money for “work” as a researcher.

David Cameron, the leader of the Conservative party, decided to remove the whip from Mr Conway on Tuesday, effectively isolating him in Parliament.

He has been suspended from the House of Commons and ordered to repay more than £13,000.

Since the Commons Standards and Privileges Committee decision it has emerged that Mr Conway’s elder son Henry, who is gay, had received similar payments during his time at university, totalling £32,000.

Mr Conway’s wife, Colette, has been paid more than £290,000 since he entered Parliament in 2001 in her role as his secretary.

The Sun reports that it has learnt that Mr Conway is currently paying a friend of his son Henry’s, 23-year-old Canadian post-graduate student Michel Pratte, £11,500 a year.

The tabloid press have widely reported that Henry, who is described as a “socialite” and fashion writer, is a patron of upmarket London gay clubs.

A friend of Henry’s, who wished to remain anonymous, contacted

“Henry is a charming, generous, and warm-hearted human being,” the friend, who works in PR, said.

“He does not deserve the treatment he is receiving at the hands of the press which seems to be targeting him simply because he is gay and like many people his age enjoys fashion and partying.

“He’s a talented writer and socialite with a strong family and I am sure he will get through this difficult time.”

The entire incident has led some to question if MPs should be allowed to employ family members.

Sir Christopher Kelly, chairman of the Committee on Standards in Public Life, said:

“This case is undoubtedly a very serious breach of parliamentary rules and further undermines public trust in our politicians.

“I understand why there are calls for rules to ban MPs employing members of their families, and, indeed, there are international precedents for doing this, and it could be the right thing to do.”