Labour politician Andrew Adonis comes out as gay

Lord Andrew Adonis speaks at a European Movement event on May 29, 2019 in London, England.

Labour peer Andrew Adonis has come out as gay, after splitting from his wife of 21 years.

Lord Adonis, who served in government under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, spoke to the i newspaper about his sexuality for the first time, four years on from his divorce.

In the interview, he explained: “I think I probably knew I was gay back then [at Oxford], but I tried to suppress it, as did so many of my contemporaries.

“It was a big thing. Society has changed so much in the last 20 years. It’s a total revolution and I think it’s one for the better.”

Coming out to family was ‘very difficult’, says Labour peer.

The peer, who has two children with his ex-wife, said of coming out to his family: “It was very difficult. It was very difficult. I mean, in the scale of things I had to deal with in my life, it was just one of them.”

An outspoken anti-Brexit campaigner, Lord Adonis has a life peerage in the House of Lords, but is hopeful of giving up his seat to become an MP at the next election.

Lord Andrew Adonis attends a European Movement event on May 29, 2019 in London, England.

Lord Andrew Adonis attends a European Movement event on May 29, 2019 in London, England. (Peter Summers/Getty)

He told the newspaper: “Almost everyone I meet is fighting to get into the House of Lords, not fighting get out of it.

“But the scene of political action is the House of Commons, not the House of Lords and if you’re interested in doing politics seriously – and I’m more serious about politics now that at any point in my entire life – it’s my duty to have a good go at getting into the Commons.”

Lord Andrew Adonis helped to extend equal marriage to Northern Ireland.

Lord Adonis was a supporter of LGBT+ equality before coming out himself, championing a 2018 amendment to extend same-sex marriage and abortion rights to Northern Ireland in the House of Lords.

In a letter to then-prime minister Theresa May, he complained: “There is also growing anger and frustration that you have not made any adequate provision for parliament to safeguard basic rights in Northern Ireland in the absence of the Assembly… It is creating a deep sense of injustice, and lack of respect for rights in Northern Ireland.”

A similar amendment from the House of Commons, tabled by Labour’s Conor McGinn, ultimately won support from parliament in July 2019, going on to secure equality in the region.