The MP for Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale made the announcement on his website today after deciding to come out publicly in 2016.
The 53-year-old, who serves as Secretary of State for Scotland, becomes the first openly gay Conservative cabinet minister.
New Year New Start! I have today posted an important message on my website https://t.co/DWEOY2dw3P
— David Mundell (@DavidMundellDCT) January 13, 2016
In a post on his website, he said: “New Year, new start! I have already set out my political priorities for the year and now I am setting out my personal one. Having taken one of the most important decisions of my life and resolved to come out publicly as gay in 2016, I just want to get on with it, and now, just like that, I have said it. How can it be both so easy and so hard to say a few short words?
“In the end, it took just a couple of taps on a keyboard, yet at some points, in my mind, it was going to be harder than standing for election, speaking in the House of Commons or being cross-examined on television.
“I still cannot fully rationalise such feelings, but I know they are not uncommon, particularly in men of my age. Of course, everybody who gets to this point, has had their own journey. I have certainly been on mine – conflicting emotions, of doubts and fears, but ultimately positive and uplifting, with an unstoppable direction of travel. Over time, I came to understand that, for me, the only way to be truly happy on a personal level is to acknowledge in public as well as in private, who I am.”
Really proud of my friend David today. https://t.co/zLLRgNT1lF
— Ruth Davidson (@RuthDavidsonMSP) January 13, 2016
He added: “I so admire the many people, young and old, who are doing this every day, uncertain of the reaction. I have been very fortunate and couldn’t have had more love and support from my family and friends.
“However, making this public is something I have had to do myself. I don’t know what the wider reaction will be, but I know its the right thing for me to do.
“Other than the intensely personal and positive difference it makes to me, and the way I can live my life, my hope is that my coming out doesn’t change anything else about how I go about my work or how people treat me.
“Gender and sexuality should make no difference whether you are a Cabinet Minister or in any other walk of life and I hope that I can, in my own way, reinforce that message.”
The leader of the Scottish Conservative Party, Ruth Davidson – who is also gay- said her colleague had her “wholehearted support, as well as the support of the wider Scottish Conservative family”.
“I know that David didn’t make today’s statement lightly, but approached it in his typically thoughtful and positive manner,” she wrote on Twitter.
Mr Mundell’s announcement brings the number of openly-gay MPs to 33 – the highest proportion of any Parliament in the world, according to a study by US academics – and means there are as many on the Tory as the Labour benches (13).
Labour’s Wes Streeting said: “Still not as easy as it should be, but a lot easier than it once was.”
A senior Downing Street source said David Cameron had been informed in the past few days of Mr Mundell’s decision to issue a statement.
Asked if the Prime Minister offered his warm support to the Scotland Secretary, the source said: “Of course, absolutely.”
He added: “I’m not going to get into their private conversation, and it’s obviously a very personal statement, but the PM is very pleased and delighted that he is in a position to take this step, and it’s very encouraging to see.”
Challenged over why it had taken so long for the Conservatives to have their first openly gay Cabinet minister, the source said: “To be honest, I think the PM, in terms of the Cabinet, appoints people on merit. I don’t think he really thinks about issues like that.
“There have been other ministers in the Prime Minister’s Government who have been gay. People tend to be appointed on merit and their ability to do the job.”
.@DavidMundellDCT Good on you, David. Well done & best wishes.
— Nicola Sturgeon (@NicolaSturgeon) January 13, 2016
Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon tweeted her support to Mr Mundell,saying: “Good on you, David. Well done and best wishes.”
Colin Macfarlane, director Stonewall Scotland said: “We’re so happy David Mundell feels able to speak openly about his sexual orientation. Having high profile people across all areas of society, from politics to sport, is crucial to creating inclusive environments and helping ensure the fair treatment of lesbian, gay, bi and trans people at work, at home and in their communities.
“Role models like David Mundell also inspire young lesbian, gay, bi and trans people by letting them know they are not alone and that they too can feel proud of their identity.”
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