Tory minister Nick Gibb comes out as gay as he plans to marry partner

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

Schools minister Nick Gibb has revealed that he is gay – and plans to marry his same-sex partner after a secret 29-year relationship.

Mr Gibb has been the Conservative MP for Bognor Regis and Littlehampton since 1997, and is currently a Minister of State for Education.

The Tory minister revealed today that he has been with his partner Michael Simmonds, the chief executive of the polling organisation Populus, for 29 years – but kept his relationship secret from friends, family and the public until now.

He told the Times: We met in a different era so you are in a way locked into that and we were comfortable with it. We have a wonderful life together. We are both very private people.”

However, as the pair decided to marry following the introduction of same-sex marriage last year, Mr Gibb decided it was finally time to open up.

He said: “I told my family last week. Conversations were had with my mother and brother and sister and Michael’s family.

“I think my mother was initially shocked — that’s an age thing — but then very supportive and what she wants is for me to be happy.

“We are close, so to her being a loving family is more important than anything else.”

He added of getting married: “I don’t know who started the conversation. But marriage has only been possible recently.

“We were never in favour of civil partnerships because we felt there should be the same approach for us and other couples. We both felt strongly we would wait until marriage became legal.”

Mr Gibb voted strongly in favour of same-sex marriage in 2013.

He has also previously spoken out in the past about the “unforgivable” lack of HIV education, saying: “When we have a survey which shows that one in four children are not being told, or taught, about HIV, which is a deadly disease that can be simply avoided and simply caught, a lack of knowledge in this area is unforgivable in our school system.”