LONDON (AFP) — A junior British minister became the first female MP to enter into a civil partnership with her lesbian partner on Saturday.
Angela Eagle, a parliamentary secretary in the finance ministry, took part in the ceremony at Southwark Register Offices in south London with her partner of 18 years Maria Exall, an engineer with telecoms group BT.
Eagle, a 47-year-old Labour MP for Wallasey, said she was delighted to be entering into the civil partnership, made possible by legislation she was active in enacting.
"It's been great, everyone was very pleased and they are very much in love," said Eagle's twin sister Maria.
Earlier this year, senior opposition MP Alan Duncan became the first parliamentarian to enter into a civil partnership.
Britain has allowed civil partnerships -- whereby same-sex couples cement their relationship in law -- since December 2005, and other notable figures who have entered the partnerships include British pop star Elton John and his long-term partner, the Canadian film maker David Furnish.
Granting new rights in areas such as employment, pensions and inheritance, civil partnerships give gay couples rights and responsibilities similar to married, heterosexual couples.
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