Andy Burnham

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Person.png Andy Burnham   Powerbase Sourcewatch WebsiteRdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
Andy Burnham.jpg
BornAndrew Murray Burnham
7 January 1970
Aintree, Merseyside, England
Alma materFitzwilliam College, Cambridge
ReligionRoman Catholicism
SpouseMarie-France van Heel
British Labour Party politician and Mayor of Greater Manchester since 2017.

Employment.png Shadow Home Secretary Wikipedia-icon.png

In office
13 September 2015 - 6 October 2016
Preceded byYvette Cooper
Succeeded byDiane Abbott

Employment.png Shadow Secretary of State for Health Wikipedia-icon.png

In office
7 October 2011 - 13 September 2015

Employment.png Shadow Secretary of State for Health Wikipedia-icon.png

In office
11 May 2010 - 8 October 2010
Preceded byAndrew Lansley

Employment.png Shadow Secretary of State for Education Wikipedia-icon.png

In office
8 October 2010 - 7 October 2011
Preceded byEd Balls

Employment.png Secretary of State for Health Wikipedia-icon.png

In office
5 June 2009 - 11 May 2010
Preceded byAlan Johnson
Succeeded byAndrew Lansley

Employment.png Secretary of State for Culture Media and Sport link=, _Media_and_Sport

In office
24 January 2008 - 5 June 2009
Preceded byJames Purnell

Employment.png Chief Secretary to the Treasury Wikipedia-icon.png

In office
28 June 2007 - 24 January 2008
Preceded byStephen Timms
Succeeded byYvette Cooper

Employment.png Member of Parliament for Leigh

In office
7 June 2001 - 6 October 2016

Employment.png Mayor of Greater Manchester

In office
8 May 2017 - Present

Andrew Murray Burnham is a British Labour Party politician and the Member of Parliament for Leigh since 2001.


Andy Burnham was born in Old Roan in Aintree, Liverpool in 1970,[1] the son of a telephone engineer father and a receptionist mother. He was also brought up in Culcheth, close to Warrington. He was educated at St. Lewis' Primary School and St Aelred's Roman Catholic High School in Newton-le-Willows and the University of Cambridge, where he read for an English degree at Fitzwilliam College.[2]

Joining the Labour Party

Burnham joined the Labour Party aged 14 in 1984.[3]

Burnham was a researcher to Tessa Jowell from 1994 until the 1997 election, and joined the Transport and General Workers' Union in 1995. After the 1997 election, he was briefly a Parliamentary Officer for the NHS Confederation from August to December 1997, before taking up the post as an administrator with the Football Task Force for a year.[4]

In 1998, he became a Special Adviser to the then Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Chris Smith, a position he remained in until his election to Parliament in 2001.

Member of Parliament

After the retirement of Lawrence Cunliffe, Burnham applied to be the Parliamentary Candidate for the safe Labour seat of Leigh. Burnham managed to secure selection to contest the safe seat at the next General Election. At the 2001 election, he was elected with a majority of 16,362, and gave his maiden speech on 4 July 2001.[5]

In Government

Following his election to Parliament, he became a member of the Health Select Committee from 2001 until 2003, when he was appointed the Parliamentary Private Secretary to Home Secretary David Blunkett. Following Blunkett's first resignation in 2004, he went on to become the PPS to Education Secretary Ruth Kelly. He was promoted to serve in the Government after the 2005 election as a Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, with responsibility for implementing the0 Identity Cards Act 2006.

In the government reshuffle of 5 May 2006, Burnham was promoted from the Home Office to a Minister of State at the Department of Health.

In Cabinet

In Gordon Brown's first Cabinet, announced on 28 June 2007, Burnham was appointed as the new Chief Secretary to the Treasury, a position he held until 2008.

The Daily Telegraph published an interview with Burnham on 13 October 2007 in which he stated that: "I think it’s better when children are in a home where their parents are married" and "it’s not wrong that the tax system should recognise commitment and marriage", which created some controversy because following through this argument would replicate the current policies of the Conservative Party.[6]

In a re-shuffle in January 2008, Burnham was promoted to the position of Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, replacing James Purnell.[7] In June 2008, he had to apologise to the director of pressure group Liberty, Shami Chakrabarti, after she threatened to sue him for libel for smearing her reputation.[8]

In late 2008, Burnham announced Government plans to crack down on the Internet, tightening up controls in order to "even up" what he claimed was an imbalance with TV regulations.[9][10][11] This was followed by a speech to the UK music industry's lobbying group, UK Music, in which he announced a "a time that calls for partnership between Government and the music business as a whole: one with rewards for both of us; one with rewards for society as a whole. (...) My job – Government’s job – is to preserve the value in the system."[12]

He was promoted again to become Secretary of State for Health in June 2009. He held the post until the then Labour Government resigned after the 2010 general election.

In Opposition

Burnham became Shadow Secretary of State for Health after May 2010 and following the resignation of Gordon Brown's government.

Following Brown's further resignation as Leader of the Labour Party and as Prime Minister, Burnham declared his intention to stand in the subsequent leadership contest.[13] He launched his leadership campaign in his Leigh constituency on 26 May.[14] Burnham led on his philosophy of "aspirational socialism", aligning himself with Intern Aware's campaign to end unpaid internships. He also made key policy commitments to the creation of a National Care Service and also called for inheritance tax to be replaced with a land value tax instead. The leadership contest was eventually won by Ed Miliband. Burnham finished fourth with less than 9% of the total vote.

At the end of September 2010, Burnham openly criticised new Prime Minister David Cameron for the Conservative-Liberal Democrat Coalition Government's public spending cuts and health reforms to the NHS.[15]

In October 2010, Burnham was appointed Shadow Secretary of State for Education and Election Co-ordinator for the Labour Party. One day short of a year later, he was appointed again to his former role of Shadow Secretary of State for Health, and has held the role since 2011.

Andy Burnham continuously held various Cabinet posts under the premiership of Gordon Brown between 2007 to 2010, first as Chief Secretary to the Treasury, then Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport and Secretary of State for Health. He was a candidate in the 2010 Labour leadership election, coming fourth out of the five candidates with 8.68% of the vote.

Andy Burnham was one of four contenders in the 2015 Labour leadership election alongside Yvette Cooper, Jeremy Corbyn and Liz Kendall.[16] On 19 July 2015, Andy Burnham explained to BBC Sunday Politics viewers why they should vote for him to be leader of the Labour party.[17]

Political controversy

Burnham was criticised during the 2010 election campaign after leaflets were sent to 250,000 women - some of whom turned out to be cancer patients - featuring a message from a breast cancer survivor who praised Labour's health policy. Burnham, the then government Health Secretary, denied that specific cancer patients had been targeted.[18]

In July 2013 The Daily Telegraph stated that Burnham's staff had edited his Wikipedia page to remove critical material. Burnham's office claimed that they had removed false statements that had been drawn to their attention.[19]

Personal life

Andy Burnham is married to Marie-France van Heel, who is Dutch,[20] since 2000, having been in a relationship for 11 years beforehand since university. The couple have a son and two daughters, and Burnham is a Roman Catholic.[21]

Burnham was the Honorary Chairman of Leigh Rugby League Club for a short period of time. Burnham was also a talented junior cricketer (playing for Lancashire CCC Juniors) and keen footballer, and competed at both sports for his college. He has played for Labour's "Demon Eyes" football team and is a lifelong fan of Premier League football club Everton.[22][23] In July 2003, Burnham played for Conference club Leigh RMI in a pre-season Exhibition friendly against Everton.[24] He came on as an 88th minute substitute for Neil Robinson in the 1-1 draw at Hilton Park.


A Quote by Andy Burnham

"National security"“What possible justification can there be, 43 years on, for information about it [the trial of the Shrewsbury 24], to be withheld on national security grounds? The failure to disclose has less to do with national security and much more to do with the potential for political embarrassment.”2015BBC


  2. {
  4. News & Media|accessdate=12 October 2008
  12. Andy Burnham and Charlie McCreevy speak at UK Music's first creators' conference
  14. Burnham seeks to stand out from leadership crowd BBC News, 26 May 2010
  15. secretary rebuts Labour criticisms over NHS plans
  16. "Devolution, UKIP and immigration: What happened when the Labour leadership hustings came to Cardiff"
  17. "Andy Burnham: Vote for me because..."
  20. September 2014