Ben Bradshaw was elected as MP for Exeter in 1997. His Conservative opponent was a member of the religious right, and there were accusations of sin on the one side and homophobia on the other. He served as a junior minister in the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and subsequently in the Department of Health. In 2009 he was appointed Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport.
Ben Bradshaw was one of the first MPs to be openly gay at the time of election, along with Stephen Twigg. On 24 June 2006, he and his partner Neal Dalgleish, a BBC producer, registered a civil partnership. He was one of the first MPs to do so, and he was the first Cabinet Minister to be in a civil partnership.
- http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/4786378.stm BBC News "Minister announces gay 'wedding'" 8 March 2006
- http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/top-stories/2006/05/10/mp-is-first-tomarry-gay-lover-115875-17055529/ Emily Miller, Daily Mirror "MP is first to marry gay lover" 10 May 2006