Ben Bradshaw
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Ben Bradshaw

Ben Bradshaw

Official portrait of Mr Ben Bradshaw crop 2.jpg
Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport

11 May 2010 - 8 October 2010
LeaderHarriet Harman (Acting)
Ed Miliband
Jeremy Hunt
Ivan Lewis
Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport

5 June 2009 - 11 May 2010
Gordon Brown
Andy Burnham
Jeremy Hunt
Minister of State for Health

28 June 2007 - 5 June 2009
Gordon Brown
Dawn Primarolo
Mike O'Brien
Minister for the South West

28 June 2007 - 5 June 2009
Gordon Brown
Position established
Jim Knight
Deputy Leader of the House of Commons

29 May 2002 - 13 June 2003
Tony Blair
Stephen Twigg
Phil Woolas
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs

12 June 2001 - 29 May 2002
Tony Blair
The Baroness Scotland
Mike O'Brien
Member of Parliament
for Exeter

1 May 1997
John Hannam
Majority10,403 (18.5%)
Personal details
Born (1960-08-30) 30 August 1960 (age 59)
London, England
Political partyLabour
Domestic partnerNeal Dalgleish
Alma materUniversity of Sussex
WebsiteOfficial 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

Bradshaw is the son of a former Anglican vicar of Norwich Cathedral Canon Peter Bradshaw and his wife Daphne Murphy. 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

Election and first term as an MP

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 first election,[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

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.[]

In 2003, Bradshaw supported government's stance on Iraq and voted for the 2003 invasion of Iraq.[9]

In 2005, Bradshaw supported the detention of terror suspects without trial and voted for the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005.[9]

Health minister

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,[10] which prompted the British Medical Association to observe that a General Practitioner was no substitute for a qualified dentist.[11]

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.[12]

On the subject of the National Programme for IT, a scheme dogged by cost overruns, delays, and doubts over its benefit to patients,[13][14] 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."[15]

He was also criticised for defending[16] car parking fees at NHS hospitals at a time when Wales was removing parking fees.[17] The BMA called such charges "a tax on the sick",[17] and questioned the legitimacy of trusts making up to £248,000 a month in parking fees.[18] 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.[19]

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".[20]

Expenses and period as Culture Secretary

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.[21] Bradshaw has said claims made about his expenses were factually wrong.[22]

On 5 June 2009 he was appointed Secretary of State for Culture Media and Sport.[23] He held this position until the 2010 United Kingdom general election and served as Shadow Culture Secretary until the 2010 Labour Party (UK) Shadow Cabinet election.

In opposition

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.[24] In 2011, Bradshaw voted for the NATO-led military intervention in Libya.[25][26] On 5 February 2013, he voted in favour in the House of Commons Second Reading vote on the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill.[27]

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.[28] He later gained the minimum 35 nominations required to stand in the ballot with the other candidates.[29] Bradshaw came last in the election.[30]

Bradshaw is a former critic of Jeremy Corbyn, whom he accused in a September 2016 article of being a "destructive combination of incompetence, deceit and menace".[31] This comment was after Bradshaw was included on an internal Labour list of MPs, issued by mistake, who were implicated in "abusing" Corbyn and his supporters.[32] He supported Owen Smith in the failed attempt to replace Jeremy Corbyn in the 2016 Labour Party (UK) leadership election.[33] However, Bradshaw has since changed his position on Jeremy Corbyn, praising his 2017 election performance.[34]

In November 2016, Bradshaw opposed a motion in Parliament for the UK to withdraw support for the Saudi Arabian-led intervention in Yemen.[35] George Galloway accused Bradshaw of supporting Saudi Arabia's regime where men like Bradshaw "are beheaded."[35]

Bradshaw claimed during a Commons debate in December 2016 that it is "highly probable" that the result of the Brexit referendum was manipulated by Vladimir Putin. Bradshaw saw this as fitting a pattern of interfering in the business of other nations after the CIA accused Russian hackers of trying to influence US elections.[36] Bradshaw also maintains that the Russians sent him an e-mail with sophisticated malware and maintains this was a cyberattack. Bradshaw said, "The email came to my gmail account, which is more vulnerable than my parliamentary one. What the sender was claiming was potentially extremely useful and political dynamite. It was drafted in a clever way to make it tempting to open." Bradshaw added, "I was the first MP to raise Russia's role in the Brexit vote in 2016. Ever since I have been asking questions about the Kremlin's subversion of our democracy."[37]

Other activities

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.[38][39] He was given a score of 100% in favour of lesbian, gay and bisexual equality by Stonewall.[40] Bradshaw was sworn in as a member of the Privy Council of the United Kingdom in 2009, giving him the right to the honorific prefix "The Right Honourable".

Bradshaw is a member of the Henry Jackson Society Advisory Council.[41]

Personal life

On 24 June 2006, Bradshaw and his partner Neal Dalgleish, who is a BBC producer,[42] 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.[43] Bradshaw has asked the Church of England to clarify whether a member of the Church of England clergy who married a same sex partner would be disciplined or defrocked.[44]

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

See also


  1. ^ "UK Parliament Website". Archived from the original on 8 January 2014. Retrieved 2014.
  2. ^ "Debrett's People". Archived from the original on 8 January 2014. Retrieved 2014.
  3. ^ "BBC Question Time". 19 May 2009. Archived from the original on 28 May 2009. Retrieved 2014.
  4. ^ "UK Politics 'Family values' group to close". BBC. 6 January 1999. Archived from the original on 18 October 2002. Retrieved 2015.
  5. ^ "Goodbye Brokeback". 27 January 2006. Archived from the original on 24 November 2006. Retrieved 2014.
  6. ^ "Twigg backs Labour initiative to encourage more LGBT MPs". Pink News. 7 October 2008. Archived from the original on 8 January 2014. Retrieved 2014.
  7. ^ "Pesticides Act 1998 (c. 26)". Archived from the original on 22 November 2007. Retrieved 2008.
  8. ^ Ben Russell "PARLIAMENT & POLITICS; FOREIGN POLICY - Angry scenes as minister...", Archived 23 August 2013 at the Wayback Machine The Independent, 7 March 2002, as reproduced on the "Find Articles" website. Retrieved on 21 March 2008.
  9. ^ a b "Ben Bradshaw". The Guardian. 4 April 2005. Archived from the original on 8 July 2018. Retrieved 2018.
  10. ^ "Patients turn to DIY dentistry as the crisis in NHS care deepens". London: The Daily Mail. 15 October 2007. Archived from the original on 4 August 2012. Retrieved 2008.
  11. ^ "GPs Cannot Fill The Gaps In The NHS Dental Service, Says BMA, UK". 17 October 2007. Archived from the original on 23 November 2008. Retrieved 2008.
  12. ^ Triggle, Nick (3 July 2008). "Minister says GPs blocking choice". BBC NEWS. Archived from the original on 3 October 2008. Retrieved 2008.
  13. ^ Hope, Christopher (17 April 2007). "Patients 'won't benefit from £12bn IT project' - Telegraph". The Daily Telegraph. London. Archived from the original on 7 September 2007. Retrieved 2008.
  14. ^ "DoH: The NPfIT in the NHS - twentieth report of session 2006-2007" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 29 May 2008. Retrieved 2008.
  15. ^ "UK is shining example of IT use". Archived from the original on 5 July 2008. Retrieved 2008.
  16. ^ "NHS car parking 'sour grapes' row". BBC News. 3 March 2008. Archived from the original on 9 March 2008. Retrieved 2008.
  17. ^ a b "NHS parking in Wales to be free". BBC NEWS. 3 March 2008. Archived from the original on 12 May 2008. Retrieved 2008.
  18. ^ "Nottingham Evening Post: Hospital car parks are 'taxing the ill'". The TaxPayers' Alliance. 13 June 2008. Retrieved 2008.[permanent dead link]
  19. ^ Hawkes, Nigel; Rose, David (4 March 2008). "£1.8bn surplus forecast for NHS after cutbacks in patient care". London: The Times. Retrieved 2008.
  20. ^ "Firms 'to run failing NHS trusts'". BBC News. 4 June 2008. Retrieved 2008.
  21. ^ Winnett, Robert (9 May 2009). "MPs' expenses: Four ministers who milked the system". London: Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 11 May 2009. Retrieved 2009.
  22. ^ "Fresh MP expense claims published". BBC News. 9 May 2009. Archived from the original on 10 May 2009. Retrieved 2009.
  23. ^ Holmwood, Leigh (5 June 2009). "Ben Bradshaw to replace Andy Burnham as culture secretary". The Guardian. London. Archived from the original on 30 July 2016.
  24. ^ "Ben Bradshaw fails to make Shadow Cabinet | Devon & Cornwall Online". 7 October 2010. Archived from the original on 22 March 2012. Retrieved 2011.
  25. ^ "Libya Report: Which MPs voted for and against intervention?". Al-Araby Al-Jadeed. 14 September 2016. Archived from the original on 8 July 2018. Retrieved 2018.
  26. ^ "The full list of how MPs voted on Libya action". BBC News. 22 March 2011. Archived from the original on 19 July 2018. Retrieved 2018.
  27. ^ {} Archived 5 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine The House of Commons.2013.Marriage (Same Sex Couples)Bill 2012-2013.
  28. ^ "Ben Bradshaw announces Labour party deputy leadership bid", The Guardian, Press Association, 15 May 2015, archived from the original on 11 August 2015, retrieved 2015
  29. ^ Dathan, Matt (17 June 2015). "Stella Creasy scrapes through as five make it onto the ballot for deputy Labour leadership election". The Independent. Archived from the original on 29 July 2015. Retrieved 2015.
  30. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 12 September 2015. Retrieved 2015.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  31. ^ Bradshaw, Ben (16 September 2016). "Jeremy Corbyn is no leader. He's not even interested in unifying our party". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 21 December 2016. Retrieved 2016.
  32. ^ Mason, Rowena (15 September 2016). "Jeremy Corbyn's team issues list of MPs who it claims undermined leader". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 20 December 2016. Retrieved 2016.
  33. ^ "Full list of MPs and MEPs backing challenger Owen Smith". LabourList. 21 July 2016. Archived from the original on 15 July 2019. Retrieved 2019.
  34. ^ "Ben Bradshaw: Why I have completely changed my mind over Jeremy Corbyn". Archived from the original on 7 January 2019. Retrieved 2019.
  35. ^ a b "George Galloway condemns 'treason' against Jeremy Corbyn and singles out gay Labour MPs over Saudi vote". Talkradio. 28 October 2016. Archived from the original on 8 July 2018. Retrieved 2018.
  36. ^ Watts, Joe (14 December 2016). "Labour MP claims it's 'highly probable' Russia interfered with Brexit referendum". The Independent. Archived from the original on 13 December 2016. Retrieved 2016.
  37. ^ Labour's Ben Bradshaw claims he was target of Russian cyber-attack Archived 4 December 2019 at the Wayback Machine The Guardian
  38. ^ {}[permanent dead link] Stonewall 2008
  39. ^ Geen, Jessica. "Daily Mail columnist Jan Moir wins Stonewall Bigot of the Year award". Archived from the original on 29 June 2011. Retrieved 2011.
  40. ^[permanent dead link]> Stonewall 2010
  41. ^ "Advisory Council". Henry Jackson Society. Archived from the original on 23 September 2013. Retrieved 2013.
  42. ^ "Minister announces gay 'wedding'". BBC News. 8 March 2006. Archived from the original on 11 January 2009. Retrieved 2008.
  43. ^ Miller, Emily (10 May 2006). "MP IS FIRST TO MARRY GAY LOVER". Mirror. Retrieved 2009.
  44. ^ MP urges Church of England clarity on same-sex marriage priests Archived 29 March 2014 at the Wayback Machine

External links

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