Simon Henry Ward Hughes (born 17 May 1951) is a British politician and Liberal Democrat Member of Parliament for North Southwark and Bermondsey. He is currently holds the Liberal Democrat Climate Change and Energy portfolio and was until recently President of the Liberal Democrats. The party president chairs a number of party committees and also represents the party at official functions. He has twice run unsuccessfully for the leadership of the party and was its unsuccessful candidate for Mayor of London in the 2004 election.
Hughes was born in Cheshire, England and partly brought up in Wales. He was educated at The Cathedral School, Llandaff, Christ College, Brecon, Selwyn College, Cambridge where he graduated with a 2:1 in Law and the College of Europe. Hughes was called to the bar (Inner Temple) in 1974. He moved to Bermondsey in 1981.
Hughes was first elected to Parliament in the Bermondsey by-election of 24 February 1983. The byelection was described by Gay News as "the dirtiest and most notorious byelection in British political history" because of the slurs against the character of the Labour candidate and gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell by various opposition campaigners. The Liberal Campaign leaflet described the election as a "straight choice", a standard campaigning slogan which was open to misinterpretation. Hughes won the seat with 57.7% of the vote. He apologised for the campaign in 2006, during the same few days revealing his own homosexual experiences, and said that he is bisexual after being outed by the Sun newspaper. Mr Hughes told the BBC's Newsnight programme: "I hope that there will never be that sort of campaign again. I have never been comfortable about the whole of that campaign, as Peter knows, and I said that to him in the past . . . Where there were things that were inappropriate or wrong, I apologise for that."