Hilary Benn was elected MP for Leeds Central in June 1999 after spending two years as special advisor to the Rt Hon David Blunkett MP, Secretary of State for Education and Employment. Following the 2001 general election he joined the Government as Clare Short's deputy in the Department for International Development (DFID). In May 2002 he moved to the Home Office where he became Minister for Prisons and Probation, in May 2003 he returned to the DFID under its new Secretary of State Baroness Amos, and then in October 2003 replaced her as Secretary of State for International Development following her promotion.
Hilary Benn remained in the Government throughout the Iraq War which was heavily criticised by his father. He is a member of the House of Commons Environment, Transport and the Regions Select Committee.