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Birth of Henry Labouchere, writer, publisher, theatre owner and radical Liberal MP

Born into a Hugenot family and nephew of the prominent Whig politician of the same name, from whom he inherited a substantial fortune, Labouchere often cut a controversial figure. He used his wealth to found a weekly journal Truth in 1877 which he used to campaign for his personal crusades. He also founded the Queen’s Theatre in Long Acre and formed a company of players which included Henry Irving and Ellen Terry. Labouchere served as┬áLiberal MP for Windsor 1865-66, Middlesex 1867-68 and Northampton 1880-1906. In parliament he acted the part of a political gadfly, not always acting in the best interests of the Liberal Party. One of the actions for which history will remember Labouchere is for his ‘gross indecency’ amendment to the 1885 Criminal Law Amendment Act which criminalised generations of innocent gay men until its repeal in 1967. His attacks on the establishment attracted the ire of Queen Victoria and it has been suggested that the Queen vetoed his appointment to the cabinet in 1892. Ever the individualist, Labouchere resigned his seat in 1906 in the wake of the Liberal landslide election and moved to Florence where he died in 1912. History will remember Labouchere for his ‘gross indecency’ amendment to the 1885 Criminal Law Amendment Act which criminalised generations of innocent gay men until its repeal in 1967