The purpose of this Pink uk Top 50 list is to demonstrate the presence of gay and lesbian people at the highest levels of British politics. In 1997 the age of consent was set higher for gay men, homophobia in schools was being exacerbated by the draconian symbolism of Section 28, lesbian and gay people had no protection at work or when accessing goods and services and had no legal recognition of their relationships.

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Initially thick as thieves, Mandelson’s affections gradually drifted towards the charismatic Blair, who he supported for leader in 1994.

Brown never forgave his former ally for the betrayal, and Gordon never forgets.

It is, we hope, a useful demonstration that in 2007 being gay, lesbian, trans or bisexual is no bar to political office.

As well as listing political figures, we have included non-politicians who nonetheless have considerable influence. Spencer Livermore, 32, Director of Political Strategy, 10 Downing Street Top of our list is a non-elected Labour adviser, but Spencer Livermore has power most MPs could only dream of.

He is on first-name terms with most of the Cabinet and is ridiculously well-informed, with a dry, caustic sense of humour.

While his reputation as a boss is fearsome, his charm has helped oil the wheels of government in favour of gay rights.

The Pink uk Politics Top 50 list is a snapshot of those gay and lesbian people.

It is by no means definitive, and there are many figures who could have been included but opt to conceal their sexuality.

Close to deputy leader Harriet Harman and well-regarded by Gordon Brown, she is also popular in the party, and is a member of Labour’s governing body, the National Executive Committee.