Shrewsbury MP Daniel Kawczynski reveals his new partner is a man
Shrewsbury MP Daniel Kawczynski today spoke of his decision to tell members of his local Conservative party that he is bisexual.
Mr Kawczynski, who is divorced, told a meeting of the Shrewsbury Conservative Association that he has a male partner.
He received overwhelming support from party members, who reacted by giving him a round of applause.
The 41-year-old, who divorced from his wife of 11 years in 2011, is the first MP to make it known that he is bisexual.
Speaking to the Shropshire Star today, Mr Kawczynski revealed for the first time why he had decided to speak about his private life.
He said: "The reason I took this decision is transparency.
"Transparency is vital and if things change in your life as a politician, you should not try to hide it."
Mr Kawczynski said he had been greatly encouraged by the positive response he had received at the meeting, adding: "They were extremely kind and supportive and they were just pleased I was happy."
He added the reaction confirmed his belief that people in Shropshire took equality very seriously and that society was changing and becoming more tolerant.
Mr Kawczynski said the "wonderful response" he had received for his support of the gay marriage bill had also given him confidence.
Earlier this year, Mr Kawczynski voted in favour of same-sex marriage, a decision which he said was based on "principle" and despite divided views on the issue in Shropshire.
His decision came after he called a meeting in his constituency to gauge views on the issue. He also wrote an open letter to his constituents explaining his decision, telling them: "My convictions as a God-fearing man, and as an individual that believes in equality for all, have led me to decide that I will vote in favour of the same sex marriage bill."
He said as a confirmed Christian, he has learned the "basic principles of justice, fairness, equality under the eyes of God and sacrifice and respect for our fellow man".
Shrewsbury Tory chairman Robert Osborne, who was at the meeting where the MP broke the news, today said Mr Kawczynski continued to have the full backing of party members.
He said: "It was a very brave thing for Daniel to do and he did it with great aplomb.
"He received huge support from members of the association and there was never a shadow of doubt that he would. He made the announcement at the end of the meeting and we moved on straight away."
Shropshire gay rights activists today praised Mr Kawczynski's "admirable" decision.
Geoff Hardy, who along with his partner Peter Roscoe became the first couple in Shropshire to enter into a same-sex civil partnership in 2005, said it was "wonderful news" the MP had found happiness. Mr Hardy, who along with Mr Roscoe, runs the campaign group Shropshire Marriage 4 All, said Mr Kawczynski's decision would make him a role model.
He said: "I think it is wonderful that he has found someone to love. I am really pleased for him and I wish them well.
"I think it is very admirable that he has taken the step to come out and tell people this is what is happening in his life.
"We may not agree politically but on a personal level he has my support. He has shown courageous support of equal marriage.
"He took that decision because he felt very strongly there was a human rights angle to the issue of equal marriage."
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