Parliament’s biggest bar is “virtually a gay bar now”, an MP has claimed.
Chris Bryant, Labour MP for Rhonda and shadow immigration minister told MPs during a debate on diversity that parliament had so many gay and lesbian members now that his husband worried about him going drinking there.
“Indeed, sometimes when you go into the Strangers Bar you feel as though you are in Rupert Street [in Soho]. It is virtually a gay bar now, and my husband sometimes worries about whether I should be allowed in there any more.”
Strangers, which only MPs and their guests can go to, overlooks the House of Commons terrace and the Thames.
While Bryant praised the increasing number of gay MPs he also noted that the number were not yet representative of the general population.
“It is a matter of great sadness to me that there are still only two out lesbians in Parliament… I pay tribute to those who have come out”.
It’s not the first time Bryant, an ex-vicar, has spoken out against prejudice.
He recently told MPs that the hymn Jerusalem should not be “reserved for homosexuals”, warning straight couples increasingly found clergy were not allowing it to be sung at weddings “because it is not a hymn addressed to god”.
“In the interests of equality, the same should apply to heterosexual couples getting married in civil venues.
“It seems odd to say you can’t have Jerusalem for a straight wedding yet you can have it at the same place for a gay wedding.”