11 Jun, 2009

Opera fan, theatre-goer and dancefloor demon

Posted by: admin In: Guardian

Meet Ben Bradshaw, the new secretary of state for culture, media and sport – the third in two years

As Andy Burnham jogs off into the middle distance to take up his new job as secretary of state for health, the revolving doors in Westminster have ejected Ben Bradshaw as his replacement – the third secretary of state for culture, media and sport in two years, after James Purnell took up the post in Gordon Brown’s first cabinet.

Bradshaw, 48, is one of the few Labour politicians who actually lists theatre as an interest on his website and, we are told, is a fan of opera – as well as a mean dancer. “He’s got a palpable interest in the arts and everyone says he’s a nice bloke,” says our spy in Whitehall.

The MP for Exeter – one of the first to register a civil partnership, in 2006 – is a former BBC journalist, so will doubtless be keen to tackle the pressing issues on the media side of his portfolio. We also gather he is not much of a sports fan (though his blog records the obligatory politician’s enthusiasm for his local side’s results).

It’s interesting to speculate on what might happen to the Royal Opera House’s plan to open a base in Manchester. The idea had massive political impetus from the start from Burnham, a loyal north-westerner with a Greater Manchester constituency. We like the idea of an Exeter Royal Opera House as well – but let’s face it, we’re more than likely to have a Tory culture secretary in the blink of an eye.

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