Tributes paid as first openly lesbian MP dies aged 92

Tributes paid as first openly lesbian MP dies aged 92
Tributes paid as first openly lesbian MP dies aged 92. image: Wikipedia

Tributes paid as first openly lesbian MP, Maureen Colquhoun, dies aged 92.

TRIBUTES continue to pour in for Maureen Colquhoun, the UK’s first openly lesbian MP, who has died at the age of 92. The former Labour politician represented Northampton North between 1974 and 1979 and was a prominent campaigner on gender balance, abortion rights and protection for prostitutes.

After it was revealed she was living with a female journalist in 1977, Colquhoun courageously (for the time) refused to accept the prejudice she found aimed at her. In a scathing article for Gay News, she said her sexuality had “nothing whatever to do with my ability to do my job as an MP.”

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She went on to fight off efforts by constituency party members to stop her from running in the 1979 general election. In the end, she eventually lost the seat to Conservative Tony Marlow.

Among the tributes which poured in after her passing was announced on Tuesday was one from Sally Keeble, who served as Labour MP for Northampton North from 1997 to 2010. “A short time in Parliament,” she wrote simply of her predecessor. “An indelible mark on public life.”

Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner said the party had lost a “great sister” and described her as a “woman of huge integrity and courage.”

She said: “Throughout our party and our movement’s history brave and principled women have been at the forefront of the fight for justice and equality for all, and we are reminded of that fact today by Maureen’s passing.”

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