British Tory politician and Shadow Minister ALAN DUNCAN was born today. Born Alan James Carter Duncan, he is known as one of the most strident and ideological libertarians within the leading ranks of the Conservative Party.

Duncan was the first sitting Conservative MP voluntarily to acknowledge that he is gay; he did this in an interview with The Times on 29 July 2002, although he has said that this came as no surprise to friends.  Indeed, in an editorial published on the news of Duncan’s coming out, The Daily Telegraph reported, “The news that Alan Duncan is gay will come as a surprise only to those who have never met him. The bantam Tory frontbencher can hardly be accused of having hidden his homosexuality.”

Duncan became the first member of either the Cabinet or the Shadow Cabinet to enter into a civil partnership when he was joined as civil partners with his partner James Dunseath in July 2008.

Duncan has a committed following in the Gay community and is active in speaking up for gay rights. He was responsible for formulating the Conservatives’ policy response to the introduction of civil partnership legislation in 2004, which he considered his proudest achievement of the Parliament between 2001 and 2005. In 2007, Pink News named him the 15th most powerful LGBT person in the UK.