UK Government’s chief lawyer: I’ve enjoyed being a gay role model who isn’t just another celebrity

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Sir Paul Jenkins, who is retiring next month as the UK Government’s chief lawyer and head of the Government Legal Service, has spoken of his pride at being an openly gay man in a senior civil service position.

Sir Paul, who is in a civil partnership with René Hansen, an occupational therapist told The Times: “I always make clear that the moral case for diversity is as important as the business case. Treating everyone as we would want to be treated ourselves is hugely important.”

Reflecting on his tenure at the head of the Government’s legal service, Sir Paul recalled being invited with his civil partner to a Lord Mayor’s banquet and to drinks with the Queen after the Trooping of the Colour.

“Frankly I still find it surprising,” he said. “But that’s because I am someone who grew up in the Sixties and Seventies when one was really quite nervous re being ‘out’ — my partner, who is bit younger than me and Danish, does not get this at all.”

“Why do I speak up about this? I am comparatively shy about banging on about my private life but it is hugely important for people across the Civil Service to see role models, gay people who have achieved senior positions and are not Elton John or Ian McKellen but ordinary people.”

Sir Paul was 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 the PinkNews ’50 Most Powerful LGBT people in British Politics 2007′.

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.