The sexuality of Cabinet ministers is not an important issue for the majority of the British public, according to a recent survey for the Sun newspaper.
73% of the population believe that politicians should not have to be open about their sexuality, providing that they do not lie or ‘behave hypocritically’. Over three quarters (76%) of respondents state that they don’t mind whether the Cabinet does or does not contain gay ministers. Furthermore, when asked if the party they normally support fielded a gay candidate in their constituency, 86% of respondents stated it would make no difference on their decision to vote for them.
However, as the media continue to discuss former Cabinet minister David Laws’s resignation over his expenses and disclosure of his sexuality, a small but significant percentage of the public do find issue with the matter. One in twenty (five percent) of the public believes that it would be a bad thing for the Cabinet to contain gay ministers and nine percent state that if their constituency candidate was gay they would be less likely to vote for them. 22% believe that politicians should be open about their sexuality because it is ‘something that their constituents should know about’.
But while just three percent stated that they would be more likely to vote for a candidate if they were gay, a considerable 13% stated that they believe it is a good thing for the Cabinet to contain gay ministers, reinforcing the overarching view that the sexuality of ministers is something that they should be allowed to keep private, and that it makes little difference to their role as politicians.