Simon Hughes ‘more gay-friendly’ than Lib Dem deputy leader rival

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Simon Hughes, the Liberal Democrat MP, is the most gay-friendly of the two candidates for the party’s deputy leadership.

Mr Hughes, who is bisexual, is the favourite for the job, having secured the support of 29 of the party’s 57 MPs.

According to Stonewall research, he has a far better voting record on gay issues than his rival Tim Farron, who is thought to be backed by 15 Liberal Democrat MPs.

The gay charity has analysed MPs’ voting records between 2005 and 2010 on issues such as the Equality Act and fertility treatment for lesbians.

Mr Hughes scored 86 per cent in the analysis. Prior to 2005, he voted for almost every gay rights measure. He was absent for two votes on civil partnerships and one on Section 28.

Mr Farron was elected as MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale in 2005. He was absent for all but three votes on gay equality. In those he did attend, he voted against the Equality Act and for ‘free speech’ protections in homophobic hatred laws.

Stonewall chief executive Ben Summerskill said: “We hope that Liberal Democrat MPs involved in voting for the next deputy leader will consider the track records of each candidate on equality and that party members will raise equality issues with the candidates.

“How people have voted in the past is an important indicator of whether they can be trusted to take equality for everyone in Britain seriously in the future.”

The party’s new deputy leader will be elected on June 9th. The contest was triggered by Vince Cable stepping down after his appointment as business secretary.