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Last Updated: Tuesday, 2 December, 2003, 12:58 GMT
MP 'sorry' over underpants photo
Chris Bryant MP
Labour MP Chris Bryant is openly gay
Labour MP Chris Bryant has apologised for e-mailing a picture of himself in his underpants via a gay website.

After the picture was published by a number of newspapers, the 41-year-old Rhondda Labour MP issued a statement on Tuesday apologising.

It read: "I'm sorry this has happened. I've always been open and honest about my private life but never sought to make an issue of it.

"I'm saddened that others have sought to do so. The important thing is the work that I do for my constituents as an MP.

"I will not myself be distracted from standing up for the people of the Rhondda."

Mr Bryant - a former Church of England clergyman - has admitted that the picture and e-mail messages are authentic.

Pat Brunker, secretary of the Constituency Labour Party, said there had been no calls for an emergency meeting and she does not expect there to be one.

"Rhondda Labour Party members are pleased to have a hard-working MP and fully support him in getting on with his job," she added.

At his end of term briefing on Tuesday, First Minister Rhodri Morgan said he did not know "what all the fuss was about".

Mr Bryant, he added, had never made a secret of being gay, and that it was a private matter for him and his constituency Labour party.

He added that it was "one of those stories that gay people have to put up with from time to time".

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