Christian MP says he is HIV+ - news from ekklesia

By staff writers
January 30, 2005

Find books now:

Christian MP says he is HIV+

-30/01/05

Christian MP and former UK culture secretary Chris Smith has become the first senior European politician in history to declare openly that he is HIV positive.

Smith, who is the Labour Member of Parliament for Islington South and Finsbury, where PM Tony Blair has owned a London house, says that he has been carrying the virus for 17 years. He announced recently that he would not be seeking re-election after 22 years in the House of Commons.

The MP was inspired to make his public declaration by the example of former South African president Nelson Mandela. Mr Mandela recently lost his only son, 54-year old Makgatho, to the scourge of the AIDS pandemic which is weeping Africa.

MR Mandela has called on people in positions of influence to be open about having HIV or AIDS, in order to help remove the stigma that prevents people seeking treatment or discussing the personal and political changes needed to confront the disease.

Chris Smith has been a prominent member of the Christian Socialist Movement (CSM) for a number of years. He was the first MP in Britain to announce that he was gay, though he has kept details of his long-term partnership private.

A close friend of former Labour leader John Smith, another Christian, who died in 1994 and is buried on the holy island of Iona, Smith has not maintained strong relations with other CSM members Tony Blair and chancellor Gordon Brown,

In 2001 he was inexplicably sacked from the Cabinet, but he has used his position on the backbenches to campaign for heath and the arts. Colleagues have been impressed by his refusal to snipe at his former bosses.

Chris Smith spoke for the first time of his HIV status in an interview with the Sunday Times published today.

For 12 years Smith was the only ëoutí person in the House of Commons.

The Labour landslide in 1997 made him the first known gay to hold office in the British Cabinet. There had been other gay MPs and ministers, but they had all kept their sexuality secret.

The Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, is to host a celebration next weekend to mark the 20th anniversary of Smith's unprecedented decision to make a public declaration of his sexual orientation.

Find books now:

Christian MP says he is HIV+

-30/01/05

Christian MP and former UK culture secretary Chris Smith has become the first senior European politician in history to declare openly that he is HIV positive.

Smith, who is the Labour Member of Parliament for Islington South and Finsbury, where PM Tony Blair has owned a London house, says that he has been carrying the virus for 17 years. He announced recently that he would not be seeking re-election after 22 years in the House of Commons.

The MP was inspired to make his public declaration by the example of former South African president Nelson Mandela. Mr Mandela recently lost his only son, 54-year old Makgatho, to the scourge of the AIDS pandemic which is weeping Africa.

MR Mandela has called on people in positions of influence to be open about having HIV or AIDS, in order to help remove the stigma that prevents people seeking treatment or discussing the personal and political changes needed to confront the disease.

Chris Smith has been a prominent member of the Christian Socialist Movement (CSM) for a number of years. He was the first MP in Britain to announce that he was gay, though he has kept details of his long-term partnership private.

A close friend of former Labour leader John Smith, another Christian, who died in 1994 and is buried on the holy island of Iona, Smith has not maintained strong relations with other CSM members Tony Blair and chancellor Gordon Brown,

In 2001 he was inexplicably sacked from the Cabinet, but he has used his position on the backbenches to campaign for heath and the arts. Colleagues have been impressed by his refusal to snipe at his former bosses.

Chris Smith spoke for the first time of his HIV status in an interview with the Sunday Times published today.

For 12 years Smith was the only ëoutí person in the House of Commons.

The Labour landslide in 1997 made him the first known gay to hold office in the British Cabinet. There had been other gay MPs and ministers, but they had all kept their sexuality secret.

The Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, is to host a celebration next weekend to mark the 20th anniversary of Smith's unprecedented decision to make a public declaration of his sexual orientation.

Although the views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of Ekklesia, the article may reflect Ekklesia's values. If you use Ekklesia's news briefings please consider making a donation to sponsor Ekklesia's work here.