Alan Milburn

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The Right Honourable
Alan Milburn
Alan Milburn.JPG
Minister for the Cabinet Office
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
In office
8 September 2004 – 6 May 2005
Prime MinisterTony Blair
Preceded byDouglas Alexander
Succeeded byJohn Hutton
Secretary of State for Health
In office
11 October 1999 – 13 June 2003
Prime MinisterTony Blair
Preceded byFrank Dobson
Succeeded byJohn Reid
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
In office
23 December 1998 – 11 October 1999
Prime MinisterTony Blair
Preceded byStephen Byers
Succeeded byAndrew Smith
Member of Parliament
for Darlington
In office
9 April 1992 – 6 May 2010
Preceded byMichael Fallon
Succeeded byJenny Chapman
Personal details
Born(1958-01-27) 27 January 1958 (age 56)
Tow Law, England
Political partyLabour
Alma materLancaster University
 
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The Right Honourable
Alan Milburn
Alan Milburn.JPG
Minister for the Cabinet Office
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
In office
8 September 2004 – 6 May 2005
Prime MinisterTony Blair
Preceded byDouglas Alexander
Succeeded byJohn Hutton
Secretary of State for Health
In office
11 October 1999 – 13 June 2003
Prime MinisterTony Blair
Preceded byFrank Dobson
Succeeded byJohn Reid
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
In office
23 December 1998 – 11 October 1999
Prime MinisterTony Blair
Preceded byStephen Byers
Succeeded byAndrew Smith
Member of Parliament
for Darlington
In office
9 April 1992 – 6 May 2010
Preceded byMichael Fallon
Succeeded byJenny Chapman
Personal details
Born(1958-01-27) 27 January 1958 (age 56)
Tow Law, England
Political partyLabour
Alma materLancaster University

Alan Milburn (born 27 January 1958) is a British Labour Party politician, who was the Member of Parliament (MP) for Darlington from 1992 until 2010. He served for five years in the Cabinet, first as Chief Secretary to the Treasury from 1998 to 1999, and subsequently as Secretary of State for Health until 2003, when he resigned, citing a lack of balance with his family life, before briefly rejoining the Cabinet as Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster in order to manage Labour's 2005 re-election campaign. In June 2009, he told his local party he would not be standing at the 2010 general election, saying: "Standing down as an MP will give me the chance to balance my work and my family life with the time to pursue challenges other than politics."[1]

Alan Milburn is currently Chair of the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission[2]

Early life[edit]

Milburn was born in the village of Tow Law in County Durham, England and grew up in Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

He was educated at John Marlay School, Newcastle and Stokesley Comprehensive School. He went on to Lancaster University. After leaving university, he returned to Newcastle where, with Martin Spence, he operated a small radical bookshop in the Westgate Road, called Days of Hope (the shop was given the spoonerised nickname Haze of Dope).[3] From there he worked as a co-ordinator at the Trade Union Studies Information Unit. During this period, he married future Labour MEP Mo O'Toole, but the couple split up in the late 1980s.[4]

Alan Milburn was Co-ordinator of the Trade Union Studies Information Unit (TUSIU) from the mid-1980s onwards.

From 1988, Milburn co-ordinated a campaign to defend shipbuilding in Sunderland, and was elected as Chairman of Newcastle-upon-Tyne Central Constituency Labour Party. In 1990 he was appointed as a Business Development Officer for North Tyneside Borough Council and elected as President of the North East Region of the Manufacturing Science and Finance (MSF) Trade Union. Meanwhile, he won the seat of Darlington in the 1992 general election.

He is a supporter of Newcastle United Football Club.[citation needed]

Member of Parliament[edit]

In Parliament, Milburn allied himself with the Blairite modernisers in the Labour Party, becoming close to Tony Blair who sat for the next-door constituency of Sedgefield. This led to his appointment as Minister of State at the Department of Health when Labour came into government in 1997, an important post in which he had responsibility for driving through Private Finance Initiative deals on hospitals. In the reshuffle caused by Peter Mandelson's resignation on 23 December 1998, Milburn was promoted to the Cabinet as Chief Secretary to the Treasury.

In government[edit]

He became Secretary of State for Health in October 1999, with responsibility for continuing the reduction in waiting times and delivering modernisation in the National Health Service (NHS). The government increased expenditure on the NHS, although the public was sceptical over claims of improved performance.[citation needed] Milburn was thought to be a candidate for promotion within the Government, but on the day of a reshuffle (12 June 2003) he announced his resignation. He cited the difficulties combining family life in North-East England with a demanding job in London as his reason for quitting.[citation needed] While on the backbenches he continued to be a strong supporter of Tony Blair's policies, especially his continued policy of increased private involvement in public service provision. Following his resignation as Secretary of State for Health (to spend more time with his family), Milburn took a post for £30,000 a year as an advisor to Bridgepoint Capital, a venture capital firm heavily involved in financing private health-care firms moving into the NHS, including Alliance Medical, Match Group, Medica and the Robinia Care Group.[5] He has been Member of Advisory Board of PepsiCo since April 2007.[6] He returned to government in September 2004, with the title of Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. He was brought back to lead the Labour Party's campaign in the 2005 general election, but the unsuccessful start to the campaign led to Milburn taking a back seat, with Gordon Brown returning to take a very prominent role.

Establishment of Foundation Trust Hospitals and the Mid Staffs Hospital scandal[edit]

In 2002 Milburn introduced Foundation trusts new bodies - a halfway house between the public and private sectors for hospitals and primary care trusts.[7] Between January 2005 and March 2009 an estimated 400-1,200 patients died as a result of poor care at Stafford hospital, a small district general hospital in Staffordshire. The Guardian highlights the hospital trust board's goal to attain Foundation trust status as a reason that the care was so bad.[8]

Backbenches[edit]

On election night in 2005, he announced he would be leaving the Cabinet for a second time, although rumours persisted that he would challenge Brown for the succession. On 10 April 2006, The Sun newspaper reported that Milburn was still unsure whether to enter the leadership election when Blair left office, which eventually occurred on 27 June the following year, with Brown subsequently assuming the prime ministerial role unopposed. On 8 September 2006, after Tony Blair had announced his intention to step down within a year, Charles Clarke suggested Milburn as leader in place of Brown. On 28 February 2007, he and Clarke launched The 2020 Vision, a website intended to promote policy debate in the Labour Party. He was the honorary president of the political organisation Progress, which was founded by Derek Draper. In 2007 Milburn worked as an advisor to Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd[9] and again in 2010 acted as an advisor to the election campaign of Julia Gillard.[10] Between January and July 2009, Milburn chaired a governmental commission on social mobility, the Panel on Fair Access to the Professions.[11] The Panel reported in July 2009 with recommendations to improve social mobility by acting at every life stage - including through schools, universities, internship practices and recruitment processes.

Milburn now also holds a place on the board of PepsiCo as an advisor.[12]

Return to government?[edit]

Despite the change of government following the May 2010 General Election. it was reported in August 2010 that Milburn had been offered a role in the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition as "social mobility tsar".[13] Although not officially politically-affiliated, the role would involve advising the government on how to break down social barriers for people from disadvantaged backgrounds, and help people who feel they are barred from top jobs on grounds of race, religion, gender or disability. Milburn provoked criticism from former Cabinet colleague John Prescott, and his former ally Andy Burnham, for advising the government. However, David Miliband defended Milburn claiming that he was serving the country and was not working for the Coalition Government. In 2011, Milburn was asked by Andrew Lansley to chair the new clinical commissioning board, as part of the Coalition Government's health reforms but he rejected the offer labelling the reforms as "privatization", "cuts" and a "car crash".[14] In 2011, Milburn contributed to The Purple Book (alongside other key figures in the Labour Party such as Ed Miliband, Peter Mandelson, Jacqui Smith, Liam Byrne, Tessa Jowell, Tristram Hunt, Stephen Twigg, Rachel Reeves and Liz Kendall). In the book, he called for the Labour Party to adopt a policy of "educational credit", a system whereby lower and middle-income families whose children attend failing schools can withdraw their children and get funding, worth 150% the cost of education at the failing school, in order to pay for a place at a higher achieving school for the child, with the money coming from the budget of the failing school. The policy was rejected by the leftwing MP Michael Meacher but was welcomed by Labour's Shadow Education Secretary Stephen Twigg and other shadow cabinet members. In 2012, a senior Number 10 adviser called for Andrew Lansley to be "taken out and shot", and that Alan Milburn should be ennobled and join the Coalition Government, as Secretary of State for Health. This was rejected by David Cameron and it is understood that Milburn rejected such offer and remains in the Labour Party. He wrote in The Times attacking the reforms, and again in March 2012 wrote in the New Statesman also attacking the reforms, but calling for the left to give an alternative.

In July 2012, Milburn was appointed as Chair of the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission[2][15]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Milburn to stand down at election". BBC News Online. 2009-06-27. Archived from the original on 30 June 2009. Retrieved 2009-06-27. 
  2. ^ a b http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201213/cmselect/cmeduc/461/46102.htm
  3. ^ O'Grady, Sean (2000-06-03). "A friend from the north". The Independent (London: Independent News & Media). Retrieved 2008-04-10. 
  4. ^ Andy McSmith, "Why minister apologised to female official over gossip", The Independent, 15 June 2003
  5. ^ Profile: Alan Milburn
  6. ^ Alan Milburn: Executive Profile & Biography - BusinessWeek
  7. ^ Butler, Patrick; Parker, Simon (14 November 2002). "Q&A: foundation trusts". The Guardian (London). 
  8. ^ Campbell, Denis (6 February 2013). "Mid Staffs hospital scandal: the essential guide". The Guardian (London). 
  9. ^ Ham, Paul (25 November 2007). "Lazarus lost his touch with voters". London: The Times. Retrieved 19 January 2009. 
  10. ^ Malkin, Bonnie (6 Aug 2010). "Alan Milburn joins Julia Gillard's election campaign". Sydney: Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 19 August 2010. Retrieved 16 August 2010. 
  11. ^ BIS -Panel on Fair Access to the Professions
  12. ^ Smithers, Rebecca (30 May 2007). "Beyoncé, Britney ... Milburn? Ex-minister takes Pepsi challenge". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 19 January 2009. 
  13. ^ Alan Milburn set for third return to Government as David Cameron adviser
  14. ^ Milburn, Alan; Mulholland, Helene (16 June 2011). "NHS reforms: amended plans are 'car crash', says Alan Milburn". The Guardian (London). 
  15. ^ https://www.gov.uk/government/news/alan-milburn-and-neil-obrien-set-to-lead-the-drive-to-improve-social-mobility-and-reduce-child-poverty

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Michael Fallon
Member of Parliament for Darlington
19922010
Succeeded by
Jenny Chapman
Political offices
Preceded by
Stephen Byers
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
1998–1999
Succeeded by
Andrew Smith
Preceded by
Frank Dobson
Secretary of State for Health
1999–2003
Succeeded by
John Reid
Preceded by
Douglas Alexander
Minister for the Cabinet Office
2004–2005
Succeeded by
John Hutton
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
2004–2005