Here are two politicians who also happen to be openly gay women.
Whilst it may seem to many that the Conservative party have now become the LGBT friendly party – on Monday they are hosting an LGBT VIP reception at Downing Street – OutNews Global takes a closer look at the comparison between Angela Eagle, the Labour party’s first out lesbian and Margot James, the Tory party’s only out lesbian MP.
The first out lesbian MP to be promoted to government in the UK was Labour’s Angela Eagle, who was appointed Environment Minister in 1997. Her rise in the party has been remarkable, often taking over and leading the helm at the Houses of Parliament in Jeremy Corbyn’s absence, Angela is now Shadow Secretary of State for Business and Innovation .
Stephen Kinnock, a Labour backbencher, has said the shadow business secretary would make a great Labour leader.
Margot was re-elected as Stourbridge’s MP in May 2015 with an increased majority of 6,694. She was subsequently appointed Assistant Government Whip, with responsibility for Education and Equalities, but has been consistently overlooked for a cabinet position despite coming into parliament on the back of a hugely successful business career.
The question many ask is why Margot was never promoted to a cabinet position despite being one of Britain’s most successful female entrepreneurs. She is a hard worker and she is loyal. Her service to the Conservative party is in fact a lifetime of work.
Others with far less of a political and business background have been instantly promoted and fast-tracked into the cabinet. A raft of women were given new positions in David Cameron’s 2014 reshuffle but although she was tipped for a top job Margot was not included. Is it simply because she is an out and proud lesbian that her career in the outdated Conservative party has been much less successful than it should have been?
The Conservatives try to present themselves as an LGBT friendly political party – taking over the reins from the Labour Party on campaigning for equal marriage and David Cameron publicly supporting equal marriage – so why has Margot James been overlooked time and again? As a role model to many it can never be good for other up and coming Conservative openly gay women MP’s to be out at work whilst living in such a shadow.
It is a different story of a rainbow Scotland, however, in which four out of six party leaders are lesbian, gay or bisexual. Of a Scotland in which the SNP might be two seats short of a majority government but still has the highest proportion of LGBT MPs in the world (12.5%).
Kezia Dugdale of Labour and Ruth Davidson, Conservative are both out Leaders of their respective parties. It may be time for the rest of the UK to catch up.