Ben Bradshaw

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For other people named Ben Bradshaw, see Ben Bradshaw (disambiguation).
The Right Honourable
Ben Bradshaw
Ben Bradshaw 2013.jpg
Bradshaw in 2013
Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport
In office
11 May 2010 – 8 October 2010
Leader Harriet Harman (Acting)
Ed Miliband
Preceded by Jeremy Hunt
Succeeded by Ivan Lewis
Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport
In office
5 June 2009 – 11 May 2010
Prime Minister Gordon Brown
Preceded by Andy Burnham
Succeeded by Jeremy Hunt
Minister of State for Health
In office
28 June 2007 – 5 June 2009
Prime Minister Gordon Brown
Preceded by Dawn Primarolo
Succeeded by Mike O'Brien
Minister for the South West
In office
28 June 2007 – 5 June 2009
Prime Minister Gordon Brown
Preceded by Position established
Succeeded by Jim Knight
Deputy Leader of the House of Commons
In office
29 May 2002 – 13 June 2003
Prime Minister Tony Blair
Preceded by Stephen Twigg
Succeeded by Phil Woolas
Member of Parliament
for Exeter
Assumed office
1 May 1997
Preceded by John Hannam
Majority 7,183 (13.3%)
Personal details
Born (1960-08-30) 30 August 1960 (age 55)
London, England
Political party Labour
Domestic partner Neal Dalgleish
Alma mater University of Sussex
Website Official website

Benjamin Peter James Bradshaw (born 30 August 1960) is a British Labour Party politician who has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for Exeter since 1997 and was the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport from 2009 to 2010,[1] Before entering politics he worked as a BBC Radio reporter.[2]

Early life and career in journalism[edit]

Bradshaw is the son of a former Anglican vicar of Norwich Cathedral. Bradshaw was educated at Thorpe Grammar School, followed by the University of Sussex where he read for a degree in German. He also attended the University of Freiburg in Germany while an undergraduate. Between 1982 and 1983 Bradshaw taught English at the Technikum, a school of technology in Winterthur in the Zurich canton of Switzerland.

Bradshaw became a reporter with the Exeter Express and Echo in 1984 and subsequently joined the Eastern Daily Press in Norwich as a reporter in 1985. In 1986 he joined the staff of BBC Radio Devon and became the Berlin correspondent for BBC Radio in 1989 and was working in the city when the Berlin Wall fell. In 1991 he became a reporter with BBC Radio's The World At One, contributing to the programme until his election to Westminster. He won the Sony News Reporter Award in 1993.[3]

Parliamentary career[edit]

Election and first term as an MP[edit]

Bradshaw was selected to contest the marginal parliamentary seat of Exeter at the 1997 general election after the first choice candidate was deselected by the local Labour party on instructions from Labour party headquarters.

The sitting Conservative MP, John Hannam had retired and the Conservatives chose Adrian Rogers to be their candidate. While Bradshaw is openly gay, Rogers is a leading member of the religious right. The campaign was vitriolic and bitter with allegations of homophobia and sin.[4] The result, however, was not close, and Bradshaw was elected as the Labour MP for Exeter with a majority of 11,705. He made his maiden speech in the House of Commons on 4 July 1997. He was the second British MP who was openly gay at the time of they were first elected,[5] 21 minutes after Stephen Twigg.[6]

In the Commons, Bradshaw introduced the Pesticides Act in 1998,[7] which gave more powers to inspectors. He became a Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Minister of State at the Department of Health John Denham in 2000.

Initial ministerial posts[edit]

After the 2001 general election Bradshaw entered Tony Blair's government as the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Only days after being appointed to the Foreign Office he had to answer questions following the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001. On 6 March 2002, while answering Parliamentary Questions, Bradshaw accused George Galloway of "being not just an apologist but a mouthpiece for the Iraqi regime over many years". Galloway responded by accusing Bradshaw of being a liar, though after a suspension of the Commons sitting, both men withdrew their comments.[8]

Bradshaw became the Deputy to the Leader of the House of Commons Robin Cook in 2002, and was an Under Secretary of State at the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs from 2003 until 2006, when he was made a Minister of State at the same department. During this period, he was sent to Brussels to negotiate changes to the Common Fisheries Policy on behalf of the British in-shore fishing fleet. When questioned, on Newsnight Scotland, by Gordon Brewer, as to the progress of these negotiations, he was unwilling/unable to answer questions relating to his brief, such as the size of the Scottish inshore fishing fleet, or the catch quotas relating to particular species.[citation needed]

Health minister[edit]

Official photograph of Bradshaw when Minister of State in the Department of Health

On 28 June 2007 he was moved to become a Minister of State in the Department of Health and, in addition, was given the Minister for the South West portfolio.

Bradshaw was the subject of controversy while Minister for Health. His responses to questioning on Radio 4 about the shortfall in NHS dentistry leading to patients unable to access NHS dentists and even resorting to treating themselves was to claim that those needing urgent treatment should go to see their GP,[9] which prompted the British Medical Association to observe that a General Practitioner was no substitute for a qualified dentist.[10]

Bradshaw also claimed that GPs were operating "gentlemen's agreements" to ensure patients didn't move between surgeries, claims dismissed as "absolute nonsense" by doctors' leaders.[11]

On the subject of the National Programme for IT, a scheme dogged by cost overruns, delays, and doubts over its benefit to patients,[12][13] he commented: "Our use of computer technology in the NHS is becoming the envy of the world. It is saving lives, saving time and saving money. If you talk to health and IT experts anywhere in the world they point to Britain as example of computer technology being used successfully to improve health services to the public."[14]

He was also criticised for defending[15] car parking fees at NHS hospitals at a time when Wales was removing parking fees.[16] The BMA called such charges "a tax on the sick",[16] and questioned the legitimacy of trusts making up to £248,000 a month in parking fees.[17] Bradshaw's claims that such charges were necessary to pay for patient care were dismissed by a shadow health spokesman, who commented that it did "not add up" for the government to make such claims in the light of an NHS surplus of £1.8bn.[18]

His plan to introduce private management of some NHS trusts was also heavily criticised. The BMA called it a step towards privatising the NHS, Dr. Jonathan Fielden observed that there was no evidence private management was better than public sector management, commenting "How many of us have seen our Trusts bring in the management consultants, paying through the nose, only to get a half baked solution and one that the real talent in the NHS could have delivered for less?", Professor Allyson Pollock, head of the Centre for International Public Health Policy at the University of Edinburgh, said: "Bringing private management in will simply accelerate the process of privatisation of services which will have catastrophic effects for the patients and the public at large. It will mean less care for everyone, and more money for profits and shareholders". Nigel Edwards, of the NHS Confederation, said the government had tried drafting in private sector management before - at the Good Hope Hospital in Sutton Coldfield in 2003 - which was not successful. He commented: "What it revealed is that the reason that hospitals tend to fail is often much more complicated and much more difficult than just poor management".[19]

Expenses and period as Culture Secretary[edit]

It was claimed in May 2009 that he exploited the MPs' expenses system by claiming the entire interest bill on a property he shares with his partner in west London.[20] Bradshaw has said claims made about his expenses were factually wrong.[21]

On 5 June 2009 he was appointed Secretary of State for Culture Media and Sport.[22] He held this position until the United Kingdom general election, 2010 and served as Shadow Culture Secretary until the Labour Party (UK) Shadow Cabinet election, 2010.

Other activities and issues[edit]

In 2009, Ben Bradshaw won the Stonewall Politician of the Year Award in 2009 for his work to support equality for lesbian, gay and bisexual people.[23][24] He was given a score of 100% in favour of lesbian, gay and bisexual equality by Stonewall.[25] On 5 February 2013 he voted in favour in the House of Commons Second Reading vote on same-sex marriage in Britain.[26]

Bradshaw is a member of the Henry Jackson Society Advisory Council.[27]

In opposition[edit]

On 7 October 2010 the Labour Party announced that he had failed to be elected to one of the 19 available places in the first Shadow Cabinet of new leader Ed Miliband.[28]

Following Labour's defeat in the 2015 general election, and the resignation of both Miliband and deputy leader Harriet Harman, Bradshaw announced his intention on 15 May to stand in the Labour Party deputy leadership election.[29] He later gained the minimum 35 nominations required to stand in the ballot with the other candidates.[30] Bradshaw came last in the election.[31]

Personal life[edit]

On 24 June 2006, he and his partner Neal Dalgleish, who is a BBC producer,[32] 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.[33] Bradshaw wants the position of the Church of England over same sex marriage or partnership in the clergy clarified. Specifically he wants to know if a member of the Church of England clergy who married a same sex partner would be disciplined or defrocked.[34]

Bradshaw's brother is Jonathan Bradshaw, CBE, Professor of Social Policy at the University of York.


  1. ^ "UK Parliament Website". Retrieved 2014-01-08. 
  2. ^ "Debrett's People". Retrieved 2014-01-08. 
  3. ^ "BBC Question Time". Retrieved 2014-01-08. 
  4. ^ "UK Politics 'Family values' group to close". BBC. 6 Jan 1999. Retrieved 19 March 2015. 
  5. ^ "Goodbye Brokeback". 2006-01-27. Retrieved 2014-01-08. 
  6. ^ "Twigg backs Labour initiative to encourage more LGBT MPs". Pink News. 2008-10-07. Retrieved 2014-01-08. 
  7. ^ "Pesticides Act 1998 (c. 26)". Retrieved 2008-07-03. 
  8. ^ Ben Russell "PARLIAMENT & POLITICS; FOREIGN POLICY - Angry scenes as minister...", The Independent, 7 March 2002, as reproduced on the "Find Articles" website. Retrieved on 21 March 2008.
  9. ^ "Patients turn to DIY dentistry as the crisis in NHS care deepens". London: The Daily Mail. 2007-10-15. Retrieved 2008-07-03. 
  10. ^ "GPs Cannot Fill The Gaps In The NHS Dental Service, Says BMA, UK". 2007-10-17. Retrieved 2008-07-03. 
  11. ^ Triggle, Nick (2008-07-03). "Minister says GPs blocking choice". BBC NEWS. Retrieved 2008-07-03. 
  12. ^ Hope, Christopher (2007-04-17). "Patients 'won't benefit from £12bn IT project' - Telegraph". The Daily Telegraph (London). Archived from the original on 6 May 2008. Retrieved 2008-05-29. 
  13. ^ "DoH: The NPfIT in the NHS - twentieth report of session 2006-2007" (PDF). Retrieved 2008-05-31. 
  14. ^ "UK is shining example of IT use". Retrieved 2008-07-03. [dead link]
  15. ^ "NHS car parking 'sour grapes' row". BBC News. 2008-03-03. Retrieved 2008-07-03. 
  16. ^ a b "NHS parking in Wales to be free". BBC NEWS. 2008-03-03. Retrieved 2008-07-03. 
  17. ^ "Nottingham Evening Post: Hospital car parks are 'taxing the ill'". The TaxPayers' Alliance. 2008-06-13. Retrieved 2008-07-03. 
  18. ^ Hawkes, Nigel; Rose, David (2008-03-04). "£1.8bn surplus forecast for NHS after cutbacks in patient care". London: The Times. Retrieved 2008-07-03. 
  19. ^ "Firms 'to run failing NHS trusts'". BBC News. 2008-06-04. Retrieved 2008-07-03. 
  20. ^ Winnett, Robert (2009-05-09). "MPs' expenses: Four ministers who milked the system". London: Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 11 May 2009. Retrieved 2009-05-09. 
  21. ^ "Fresh MP expense claims published". BBC News. 2009-05-09. Archived from the original on 10 May 2009. Retrieved 2009-05-09. 
  22. ^ Holmwood, Leigh (2009-06-05). "Ben Bradshaw to replace Andy Burnham as culture secretary". The Guardian (London). 
  23. ^ {} Stonewall 2008
  24. ^ Geen, Jessica. "Daily Mail columnist Jan Moir wins Stonewall Bigot of the Year award". Archived from the original on 4 July 2011. Retrieved 2011-08-14. 
  25. ^ {> Stonewall 2010
  26. ^ {} The House of Commons.2013.Marriage (Same Sex Couples)Bill 2012-2013.
  27. ^ "Advisory Council". Henry Jackson Society. Retrieved 31 August 2013. 
  28. ^ "Ben Bradshaw fails to make Shadow Cabinet | Devon & Cornwall Online". 2010-10-07. Retrieved 2011-08-14. 
  29. ^ "Ben Bradshaw announces Labour party deputy leadership bid", The Guardian (Press Association), 15 May 2015, retrieved 30 July 2015 
  30. ^ Dathan, Matt (17 June 2015). "Stella Creasy scrapes through as five make it onto the ballot for deputy Labour leadership election". The Independent. Retrieved 30 July 2015. 
  31. ^
  32. ^ "Minister announces gay 'wedding'". BBC News. 2006-03-08. Retrieved 2008-07-03. 
  33. ^ Miller, Emily (2006-05-10). "MP IS FIRST TO MARRY GAY LOVER". Mirror. Retrieved 2009-05-10. 
  34. ^ MP urges Church of England clarity on same-sex marriage priests

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
John Hannam
Member of Parliament
for Exeter

Political offices
Preceded by
Dawn Primarolo
Minister of State for Health
Succeeded by
Mike O'Brien
New office Minister for the South West
Succeeded by
Jim Knight
Preceded by
Andy Burnham
Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport
Succeeded by
Jeremy Hunt
Preceded by
Jeremy Hunt
Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport
Succeeded by
Ivan Lewis