Former Tory Minister Peter Lilley finally opens up about gay rumours

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Margaret Thatcher’s former Trade Secretary, Peter Lilley, has finally broken his silence about rumours on his sexuality.

The Conservative MP, who served as a minister under both Thatcher and John Major, was the victim of constant speculation among Westminster gossip mongers.

Mr Lilley remains the Member of Parliament for Hitchin and Harpenden, and has an extremely poor voting record on LGBT rights – opposing same-sex marriage, civil partnerships, same-sex adoption, and the equal age of consent.

However, he has refused to comment until now on decades-old rumours that he is gay.

Weighing in after years of silence, he told the Telegraph he found the rumours distasteful.

He said: “I didn’t like the rumour-mongering.

“I didn’t mind so much for me but for my mother and sister and wife, it wasn’t nice. I never found out why [the rumours were put about].”

Though he never commented on the rumours, his wife Gail said at the time she found the entire predicament “hilarious”.

Mr Lilley added: “My wife for the last three or four parliaments has said ‘why don’t you give up and have a normal life?’ and then as the election approaches she says ‘I can’t bear the thought of you coming home for dinner every night,’ so she lets me stay on.

“She tends to be very outspoken and one has to take what she says with a pinch of salt, but she does go around my constituency saying ‘I’d be voting UKIP if it weren’t for the fact my husband seems to be reasonably sound’.”

Speaking about rumours he had a gay affair with a cabinet colleague back in 1999, Mr Lilley told the Mirror: “I find homosexuality as unappetising as eating cardboard.”