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British Politician Outed as Bisexual Polyamorist

Compiled by Kathryn Page

In the aftermath of an outing by the British press, Tory Whip Tom Spencer has acknowledged that he is bisexual and that his wife has always known about it.

Spencer, chair of the European Parliament (EP)'s Foreign Affairs and Security Committee, was stopped by British customs on returning from Amsterdam. Caught with two marijuana cigarettes, 1.5 grams of cocaine, and several gay pornographic videos in his suitcase, Spencer was fined approximately £500. When the British tabloids found out about the situation, they quickly learned that Spencer had been visiting a male friend, U.S. porn star Cole Tucker.

The Conservative Party quickly removed Spencer from his Whip position and from all Conservative Caucus activities in Europe. It was preparing to convene its Ethics and Integrity Committee when, on Jan. 31, Spencer voluntarily agreed to withdraw from the June EP elections, although he will remain member of the European Parliament until the end of his term, and will remain a member of the Conservative Party. "My wife and I have had a chance to review the situation in which we find ourselves," he said in his statement to the press. "I have sought in recent days to protect my friends from publicity... I have concluded that it is in the best interest of all concerned."

In a personal statement to the European Parliament on Feb. 8, Spencer apologized to the members of the House, saying, "While I believe that my personal life has always been, and continues to be, rooted in love, I accept that it may cause genuine offence to my colleagues." The party has insisted it was the cocaine that was at issue, not Spencer's sexual orientation.

Spencer said he has received many messages of support, but the only Tory to speak out publicly on his behalf has been former Chancellor Kenneth Clarke. "I like Tom. He is a friend of mine," Clarke said. "He is an extremely good member of the European Parliament and I am rather shocked and surprised by the news. He is a good politician and I think the British have got to sort out how far someone's private life interferes with their ability to be a member of the European Parliament, and Tom is one of the best British members of the European Parliament for some years now."

Liz Spencer says that she knew her husband was bisexual even before he told her, which was long before they married. They agreed that from time to time he would spend a weekend in Amsterdam for his gay affairs, and some of his lovers have been welcome visitors at his home. Tom says it would be wrong for him to have a relationship with another woman, and has not done so since their marriage. Liz has also had affairs, but describes herself as "boringly straight." She said, "Everyone says we are one of the happiest families they know. It will continue to be happy when all this has died down. I don't feel let down by Tom, even though he was incredibly stupid in what he was doing." Tom said he is only an occasional drug user, but Liz was reportedly unaware of his drug use before the incident.

The Spencers described their relationship as beginning as a friendship when they met as students 26 years ago. It was not until Liz had married and divorced that they considered marriage. "We already loved each other, we were attracted to each other and we had become the center of each other's world," Liz said. "I also felt strongly enough not to mind that Tom would need room to love others on the periphery of his life. Obsessive love is not love to me."

Spencer told reporters he had been conscientious about practicing safe sex. He said of his relationship with his wife, "Because it's all open in our relationship I've never felt furtive. We could have stayed as good friends and not had kids, or I could have given up politics. We decided we could make our marriage work and that we could and should have children. If half the country is as happy as I am, good luck to them." He went on to say, "I've always known, I've always loved both men and women from as far back as I can remember. I wasn't sure I would find anyone I wanted to marry. Then I met Liz and we felt as if we had known each other forever. Marrying her is the best thing that has ever happened to me in my entire life. I'm glad we had the courage to do that."

Spencer said he has had only a few relationships since his marriage, one with a man who was special to him who died. Of his current relationship of less than a year with Tucker, he said, "I have to admit I'm in love with him... He's lovely, warm and I am very fond of him. He's not into drugs or alcohol or anything like that and I feel very upset I've dragged him into this. It's an adult relationship. We're very fond of each other." He added, "Cole and I had a lovely weekend together and the videos were a present. It's ironic that is how this all developed."

"Tom Spencer is a very fine man," Tucker said. "There is nothing seedy about our relationship."

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