Gay Labour MP Stephen Twigg sacked as Shadow Education Secretary

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

Stephen Twigg, one of the country’s most senior gay politicians, has been sacked in today’s reshuffle of Labour’s Shadow Cabinet – and replaced by Tristram Hunt.

The West Derby MP had long been rumoured to be at odds with the Labour leadership over the party’s policy on free schools and academies.

He has been demoted to a lower position of Shadow Minister for Justice.

In a separate development this summer, Mr Twigg spoke of his shock over revelations that scores of schools still had Section 28-style language in their sex education policies.

Calling on Education Secretary Michael Gove to act, the Labour MP told “It seems that some schools, perhaps not knowingly, are still using guidance from before Labour’s repeal of Section 28.

“Labour got rid of Section 28 in 2003 to ensure that schools taught about homosexuality in an open and honest way. Homophobic bullying is still too common in schools; we must ensure that we redouble our efforts to tackle such prejudice.”

In response, the Department for Education (DfE) announced an investigation, saying: “What these schools have done by singling out homosexuality is unacceptable.”

As Shadow Education Secretary, Stephen Twigg was a supporter of Labour’s call to make Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) Education a statutory requirement in order to address the health challenges faced by heterosexual and LGBT students.

However, an amendment to the Children and Families Bill, to include statutory SRE, was voted down by Conservative and Liberal Democrat MPs in June.

Mr Twigg was first elected to Parliament in 1997, famously defeating Michael Portillo in the north London seat of Enfield-Southgate.

Following the 2001 general election, Mr Twigg was appointed Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the House of Commons, Robin Cook, and in 2002 became a junior minister in the Department for Education and Skills. In 2004, he was promoted to Minister of State for school standards.

He is a former chairman of Labour Friends of Israel and remains a patron of LGBT Labour.