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Prominent British
politician outed by the press

Prominent British
politician outed by the press

A political scandal has erupted in Britain after the Evening Standard newspaper reported Thursday that antigay Conservative parliament member Gregory Barker left his wife of 14 years for a man.

Barker, 40, separated from his wife, Celeste, with whom he has two children, in July without divulging any reasons for the split. The Standard maintains Barker carried on a year-long affair with the male decorator of his country estate in Rye, East Sussex. The man accompanied Barker on a series of official business trips, including a global warming fact-finding trip to Norway earlier this year.

"It is true that my marriage ended a couple of months ago," Barker said while addressing the press outside his London apartment. "That is a sad thing, but it happens. I am not commenting on anything else; I am not in a current relationship."

The public outing has lead to increased scrutiny over Barker's voting record on gay rights legislation. Barker called attention to his support of the new Civil Partnership law in 2004, but the Standard pointed to the "antigay rating" of 60.2% bestowed on Barker by the political Web site the Public Whip. Barker had previously voted against a bill allowing nonmarried couples to adopt children and supported a ban on the "promotion" of homosexuality in schools. (The Advocate)

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