Page last updated at 14:26 GMT, Saturday, 27 September 2008 15:26 UK

MP sets civil ceremony precedent

Angela Eagle and Maria Exall
The couple have been together for 18 years

Treasury Minister Angela Eagle has become the first female MP to tie the knot in a civil partnership.

The Labour MP for Wallasey and Maria Exall, her partner of 18 years, made the commitment at Southwark Register Offices in south London.

Ms Eagle, 47, was involved in bringing in the Labour government's Civil Partnerships Act of 2004.

Ms Eagle's twin sister Maria said: It's been great, everyone was very pleased and they are very much in love."

About 50 guests witnessed the ceremony and were heading to Ms Eagle's home for a reception.

Political meeting

Further celebrations were planned for a Clapham pub, where Commons Leader Harriet Harman was expected to be among the guests.

Ms Harman announced her colleague's engagement at the TUC Congress in Brighton earlier this month.

Ms Eagle met Ms Exall, a BT engineer, at the Peckham Labour Party.

Ms Eagle, who has been the MP for Wallasey since 1992, is the only openly gay woman in the House of Commons.

Shadow business secretary Alan Duncan became the first Tory MP to enter into a civil partnership in July, when he wed his partner, James Dunseath.

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