Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran announces she is pansexual
Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran has become the first MP to come out as pansexual after she revealed she was in a relationship with a woman.
The Oxford West and Abingdon MP said she was in a "loving, stable relationship" as she hit out as Westminster for being a "weird, backwards" place for those in LGBT relationships.
Ms Moran - who has been tipped to stand in the race to replace Jo Swinson as Lib Dem leader - said she was more comfortable being described as pansexual than "gay" or "bisexual" because it focused more on the individual rather than a sexual or gender identity.
She added: "Sometimes, when you meet the right person, it just kind of happens".
Announcing her relationship on Twitter, Ms Moran said: "2020 is a new decade and a new path in my journey. Last year I feel in love with a wonderful woman.
Something I'd never considered before. Now I am just happy. #Pansexual #OutAndProud."
The MP's new partner is former Lib Dem head of press officer, Rosy Cobb, who was suspended from the party after being accused of faking an email during the general election campaign
Dismissing suggestions about a conflict of interest, Ms Moran said: "[Ms Cobb] no longer works for the party and she is not going back, so there is a line completely drawn".
In an interview with Pink News, the Lib Dem MP added: "About six months ago I started a relationship with a woman, and that was quite surprising, because before that I'd only ever had boyfriends.
"We met at work, which a lot of people do, and we just totally hit it off, started hanging out, and one day after a couple of glasses of wine…
"It was really wonderful on the one hand, but also quite surprising for me in how I had identified before.
She added: "We're in a really committed, loving, supportive relationship, and I feel now is the time to talk about it, because as an MP I spend a lot of time defending our community and talking about our community. I want people to know I am part of our community as well."
"Weird, backwards place"
And Ms Moran, who is widely expected to run for the party's leadership when a contest is held later this year, said she had looked to senior Tory politicians Ruth Davidson and Justine Greening as "role models" for coming out about their relationships.
She said: "Parliament is a weird, backwards place. I don't know if there's any other [MPs] who would identify as pansexual, and not that many who identify as bisexual - there are a few women who are brilliant role models who have come out in their lesbian relationships.
"People like Ruth Davidson and Justine Greening are people I look to have done this kind of thing in the past.
"Within that Westminster bubble, I'm not going to lie, doing this is a bit, 'Ooh, what are people going to think?' But I don't really care - because I know that in wider society it's more than just fine. It's something that we now all accept."
She added: "We had equal marriage passed in the last decade. But it's also a fact of life that over the past few years, we've seen a backwards step in terms of acceptable of LGBT+ issues.
"We've seen particularly trans and bi hate crime on the rise, and if there was ever a time we need to keep pushing these issues, I think it is now."
Ms Moran was forced to step down from the party's last leadership race after she admitted she had been previously detained by police for slapping her ex-boyfriend during a row over a computer cable.