Ben Bradshaw became the first government minister to have a civil partnership last weekend.

The Minister for Local Environment, Marine and Animal Welfare had a ceremony with Newsnight journalist Neal Dalgleish on Saturday in Herefordshire.

Family and friends witnessed the Exeter MP’s union, Mr Bradshaw said: “It’s a great comfort to me, and tens of thousands of others.”

Mr Bradshaw, 45, is a former BBC correspondent and has worked in the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs since 2004, firstly as Minister for Nature Conservation and Fisheries.

Prior to that he worked as a Parliamentary Under-Secretary at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and then the Privy Council Office where he was appointed Parliamentary Secretary in 2002.

When first voted in to his Exeter seat in 1997, the politician was one of the first openly gay MPs to be out at the same time that he was elected.

He follows Labour’s David Borrow, who became the first MP to have a civil union last May.

Gay couples in England and Wales has formed over six thousand civil partnerships since legislation came into place last December.