Ben Bradshaw, an openly gay MP, has been promoted to become Minister of State at the Department of Health.

It is a step up the ministerial ladder from his previous role at the Department of the Environment.

Mr Bradshaw was also appointed as Minister for the South West as part of the Prime Minister, Gordon Brown’s focus on regions within England.

Mr Bradshaw was one of the first MPs to be elected as an openly gay candidate during the 1997 landslide victory for the Labour Party.

He held a civil partnership ceremony with his partner, the BBC journalist Neal Dalgleish, last June.

As Minister of State for Health he will almost certainly hold an early meeting with gay health charities to assess what help he can offer in his new position.

The Department of Health will also include an eminent surgeon, Professor Sir Ara Darzi as a Junior Minister.

He will replace Lord Hunt, moved to the Ministry of Justice following the debacle of the MTAS system for recruiting junior doctors, whose security failings were revealed on Channel Four News.