I’m gay and my mar­riage is over, ad­mits Tory min­is­ter

The Scotsman - - News - mark Smith

GOVERN­MENT min­is­ter Crispin Blunt an­nounced the break-up of his mar­riage last night af­ter re­veal­ing he is “com­ing to terms with his ho­mo­sex­u­al­ity”.

The for­mer army of­fi­cer has been mar­ried to wife Vic­to­ria for 20 years. They have two chil­dren aged 16 and 18.

Con­ser­va­tive MP Mr Blunt, 50, was ap­pointed min­is­ter for pris­ons and youth jus­tice in May this year, fol­low­ing the for­ma­tion of the coali­tion Govern­ment.

He be­gan his po­lit­i­cal ca­reer as an aide to se­nior Tory Sir Mal­colm Rifkind be­fore be­com­ing MP for Reigate in Sur­rey in 1997.

The MP last night de­nied that he was in­volved in any other re­la­tion­ship and pleaded for his fam­ily’s pri­vacy to be re­spected by the me­dia.

Ear­lier this sum­mer, the newly ap­pointed min­is­ter was caught up in a bruis­ing row with Down­ing Street af­ter he pro­posed a re­lax­ation on rules gov­ern­ing fancy-dress par­ties in prison and com­edy work­shops be­hind bars.

He was also re­ported to have an­noyed David Cameron by re­fer­ring to the Prime Min­is­ter’s mem­ber­ship of the Bulling­don Club at Ox­ford Uni­ver­sity.

The Fri­day af­ter­noon tim­ing of Mr Blunt’s an­nounce­ment about his sex­u­al­ity prompted spec­u­la­tion that a Sun­day news­pa­per had been given in­for­ma­tion and was plan­ning to pub­lish a story.

Last night Mr Blunt’s of­fice con­firmed he had walked out on his wife in or­der “to come to terms with his ho­mo­sex­u­al­ity”.

A state­ment said: “Crispin Blunt wishes to make it known that he has sep­a­rated from his wife, Vic­to­ria.

“He de­cided to come to terms with his ho­mo­sex­u­al­ity and ex­plained the po­si­tion to his fam­ily. The con­se­quence is this sep­a­ra­tion.

“There is no third-party in­volve­ment but this is dif­fi­cult for his im­me­di­ate and wider fam­ily, and he hopes for un­der­stand­ing and sup­port for them.

“The fam­ily does not wish to make any fur­ther pub­lic com­ment and hope that their pri­vacy will be re­spected as they deal with these dif­fi­cult pri­vate is­sues.”

For­ward­ing his me­dia state­ment to MP col­leagues, Mr Blunt said his fam­ily had been “ex­traor­di­nar­ily un­der­stand­ing”.

“I know col­leagues will ap­pre­ci­ate the per­sonal sen­si­tiv­ity of this, par­tic­u­larly for my fam­ily, who have been ex­traor­di­nar­ily un­der­stand­ing,” he said in an email.

“As the state­ment says, we will not be mak­ing any fur­ther pub­lic com­ment.”

Fel­low Tory MP Peter Bot­tom- ley and his wife Baroness Vir­ginia Bot­tom­ley, the for­mer health sec­re­tary, sent Mr and Mrs Blunt a mes­sage of sup­port.

“Life is sel­dom for long as good or as bad as it ap­pears,” the Bot­tom­leys said.

“You have the good wishes of many. You do have our sup­port and un­der­stand­ing.”

Mr Blunt caused con­tro­versy last month af­ter say­ing he was lift­ing a ban on “in­ap­pro­pri­ate” prison events such as fancy-dress par­ties and com­edy work­shops.

How­ever, he was over-ruled by Num­ber 10 the fol­low­ing day, with Mr Cameron or­der­ing that there would be no such par­ties.

Mr Blunt had blamed the me­dia for an “ab­surd over­re­ac­tion” on the is­sue fol­low­ing news­pa­per re­ports that pris­on­ers were throw­ing par­ties.

Mr Blunt’s fam­ily home is Hor­ley, Sur­rey.

The politician, who was born in Ger­many to English par­ents, was ed­u­cated at Welling­ton Col­lege and the Royal Mil­i­tary

in Academy Sand­hurst, where he won the Queen’s Medal, awarded to the best all-around cadet in prac­ti­cal, aca­demic and mil­i­tary mat­ters.

Mr Blunt – whose niece is Golden Globe-win­ning ac­tress Emily Blunt – was com­mis­sioned as an of­fi­cer into the 13th/18th Royal Hus­sars and served un­til 1990.

Dur­ing the 1980s, he was sta­tioned in Cyprus, Ger­many and the UK, serv­ing as a troop leader, regimental op­er­a­tions of­fi­cer and ar­moured re­con­nais­sance squadron com­man­der.

He re­signed his com­mis­sion as a cap­tain in 1990 be­fore go­ing into pol­i­tics.

Mr Blunt con­tested his first par­lia­men­tary seat in West Bromwich East in 1992 and was made spe­cial ad­viser to the then de­fence sec­re­tary Mr Rifkind the fol­low­ing year. Mr Blunt had read pol­i­tics at Durham Uni­ver­sity and was elected pres­i­dent of the Durham Union be­fore grad­u­at­ing with a 2:1 de­gree.

Crispin Blunt said his fam­ily had been un­der­stand­ing

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