AN MP has described how they felt the need to call the police after being abused for holding hands with their same-sex partner.

SNP MP for Livingston, Hannah Bardell, told the Commons she is an “openly proud lesbian” but said it is still illegal to be LGBTQ in 71 countries, adding: “I am illegal in 71 countries. And in 11 of those countries the death penalty still exists for same-sex consensual activities.”

Intervening, Conservative MP Kieran Mullan said her remarks highlighted the “extreme circumstances” that people go through in other countries, adding: “But one of the tests I think we often ask ourselves is: would every gay person in this person on a late night out surrounded by drunk crowds of people feel confident to hold the hand of their partner.

“I’m not sure they would actually. I think even in this country there is a lot we can still do when it comes to issues like that.”

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Bardell said: “I absolutely agree with him. You know, I’ve had experiences myself that I’ve had to report to the police just from holding hands with a partner and being abused, you know, in Scotland.

“And that’s the reality that many of us have faced and that we have seen in recent times in the press, members of the LGBTQ+ community being attacked and targeted simply for holding hands with their same-sex partner.”

Earlier in the debate, Labour former minister Angela Eagle warned about the dangers of progress on equality being reversed.

She said: “Women in the USA are now experiencing the shocking reality of a bonfire of the rights that they thought were established and permanent with the reversal of Roe vs Wade by the Supreme Court.

“In the USA some of those fundamentalist justices now have their eyes fixed firmly on same-sex marriage, the legality, for goodness’s sake, of same-sex relations and even the use of contraception. This means that all of the progress that we have been celebrating and perhaps in our more complacent moments thinking could never be reversed has just being reversed in front of the eyes of half of the population of America.

“And we must never forget that those same reactionary forces are lurking here in the UK, working to achieve the same goal, often with generous fundamentalist funding from various nefarious organisations.”

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Eagle also spoke about her experience as a minister in the 1992 to 2010 Labour governments, saying “it was clear that public opinion on this issue had moved faster than the previous Government attitudes had”.

She added: “And throughout the 1980s, hostility to LGBT+ people was used explicitly by the then government in their political propaganda to portray the Labour Party as loony lefties, that was the phrase that was always thrown at us then. This effort was enthusiastically supported and highlighted by the Tory-supporting read tabloids in lurid and bullying headlines which are still imprinted on my brain today.”