UK Deputy Party Leader: The Sun Blackmailed Me Into Coming Out

If you think the tabloids in this country are ruthless, you should see how they operate in Merry Old England. Last week Simon Hughes, the deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats, admitted to Parliament that he outed himself as bisexual in the Sun after he was notified the paper had dirt on his same-sex leanings and was going to run something with or without his cooperation.
Though Hughes (right) went on record with the Sun, the paper still ran a salacious story with the headline “Hughes: I’ve Had Gay Sex.”
According to The Guardian, he came clean about the Sun‘s sleazy tactics during an inquiry stemming from the News of the World‘s phone-hacking scandal. Hughes maintained he gave an interview to reporter Trevor Kavanagh after someone else from the newspaper told him the Sun had records showing the MP had used a service called Man Talk.

“[He] told me that the Sun had telephone calls records showing that I had called a gay chatline,” Hughes told the inquiry. “Although I thought then, and still believe, that my sexuality is a private matter, I immediately admitted to this.”

Obtaining unauthorized phone records is a crime in Britain under the Data Protection Act of 1988, but there is an exemption for journalist operating in the public interest. Hughes told the Guardian, however, that his sexuality was a private matter and not newsworthy. At the time he was the odds-on favorite to be elected leader of his party but, after the Sun story broke, he lost by a significant margin. “It was a character assassination, not backed up by anything,” claims Hughes.

Prior to the Sun story, Hughes publicly denied being gay in interviews—one of which ran in the Independent just a week before his admission.  He now says he is bisexual, telling The Daily Telegraph that it shouldn’t be a barrier to public office, but that he was wrong to deny it to the press for so long. “I gave a reply that wasn’t untrue but was clearly misleading. I apologise.”  

Photo via Southbanksteve

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  • prince of snides aka divkid

    yeah, karma IS a bitch.

    some background: in the 80’s (whenever that was.. i’m far too young) simon hughes as the Liberal candidate stood against the labour party candidate one peter tatchell (of this gay parish) in the bermondsey by-election. the bermondsey by-election has gone down in infamy for it’s flagrant use of homophobia, outright vicious hatred and scare tactics.

    throughout this, the cowardly closeted mr hughes, on the best gloss, sat on his hands; but more accurately colluded in the dirty tricks campaign and character assassination launched by his campaign team on tatchell, an openly gay man (no easy thing in the 80’s.)

    all that having been said, yes, the murdoch empire (ie the sun) is a cancer on the body politic, and a major block to human progress on both sides of the atlantic; oh wait, actually i mean the world — those disgusting tentacles get everywhere. hopefully, not for much longer.

    i’ve got a tiny amount of sympathy for hughes; and he’s tried to make amends. but like all these jonny-cum-latelys to the freedom banquet, his rainbow path been paved by the bodies of much braver more honest men and women who’s live’s (excepting the justly sainted human rights activist tatchell) have ended in undeserved obscurity and public villification.

  • prince of snides aka divkid

    …suck it up, baby. and move on.

  • tallskin2

    well said prince of snides, spot on!,_1983

    Remember that the old Labour mafia in southwark were like mayor daley’s mafia in old chicago, they fixed jobs, elections to suit themselves, were corrupt as fuck, and peter tatchell and the southwark labour party, were a new guard, socialists, who were trying to purge the corrupt local party of this canker. And it was sheet spite and malicous anger against being deposed from his profitable sinecure that made the nasty old fucker Bob mellish, the old MP who’d sat corrupt in that seat for 35 odd years, try and bring down to defeat his own party, the labour party

    Peter tatchell’s candidancy and campaign, marked the beginning of the modern world in his being openly gay and left wing, a libertarian

    A further irony of the homophobic campaigns fought by all the opponents of Tatchell, is that they were all homosexual. Including the old guard of the labour party, (including the deposed labour candidate, bob Melish) and his “official” labour candidate, John O’grady – who stood with the sole intention of splitting the labour vote to defeat Peter tachell.

    Thus the tory candidate was homosexual, the old labour candidate Bob Melish and his vote spiker, John O’grady, as well as the victorious Liberal candidate, simon hughes. All were homosexual and closeted and all of them fought the most vile homophobic campaign against peter tatchell, who was the only ‘out’ and proud gay candidate.

    Simon hughes who won the seat as a direct result of a homophobic campaign, has kept the seat ever since, and has since, as the article above illustrates, admitted that he is also gay.

    afterwards Bob Mellish was rewarded handsomely by Mrs Thatcher and was made a Lord

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