An anti-gay Tea Party candidate has unseated the majority leader of the US House of Representatives in a Republican primary.

Eric Cantor, the Republican House leader who has represented Virginia’s 7th District in Congress since 2001, was defeated in a surprise upset yesterday.

The winning candidate – Dave Brat – is a previously unknown Tea Party candidate, who calls for the “sanctity of marriage”.

Brat’s website says: “Our Rights come from God and not from Government. Government is instituted to protect these rights.

“Dave will protect the rights of the unborn and the sanctity of marriage, and will oppose any governmental intrusion upon the conscience of people of faith.

“As a proud father of two, Dave Brat believes that the greatest gift we have is our children, and he can no longer sit on the sidelines while Eric Cantor and his fellow political elites continue to charge the credit card of political expedience at the expense of our children and grandchildren.

“To Dave, ending this inter-generational theft is a moral obligation, because it limits the economic freedoms of future generations.

“Dave Brat believes that no person, business, or industry should receive special treatment.

“Additionally, Dave Brat respects the Constitution, and he will oppose the efforts of the Obama administration to curtail freedom of speech, freedom of the press, religious liberty, and our Second Amendment rights.

It is the first time a US House majority leader has ever been unseated by a challenger, let along a former unknown.

Cantor had previously been tipped as the successor to John Boehner, the Speaker in the House of Representatives.