Alan Johnson

Alan Johnson

Infobox Minister
honorific-prefix = The Right Honourable
name = Alan Johnson
honorific-suffix = MP

office = Secretary of State for Health
term_start =28 June 2007
term_end =
primeminister =Gordon Brown
predecessor = Patricia Hewitt
successor = Incumbent
office2 = Secretary of State for Education and Skills
term_start2 =5 May 2006
term_end2 = 28 June 2007
primeminister2 =Tony Blair
predecessor2 = Ruth Kelly
successor2 = Ed Balls (as Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families) & John Denham (as Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills)
office3 = Secretary of State for Trade and Industry
President of the Board of Trade
term_start3 =6 May 2005
term_end3 =5 May 2006
primeminister3 = Tony Blair
predecessor3 = Patricia Hewitt
successor3 = Alistair Darling
office4 = Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
term_start4 =8 September 2004
term_end4 =6 May 2005
primeminister4 = Tony Blair
predecessor4 = Patricia Hewitt
successor4 = David Blunkett
constituency_MP5=Hull West and Hessle
majority5 = 9,450 (34.0%)
term_start5 =1 May 1997
term_end5 =
predecessor5 = Stuart Randall
successor5 = Incumbent
birth_date = Birth date and age|1950|05|17|df=y
birth_place = Paddington, London
website = []
party = Labour
death_date =
death_place =
nationality = British
spouse =
relations =
children =
residence =
alma_mater =
occupation =
profession =
religion = None (atheist)

Alan Arthur Johnson (born 17 May 1950) is a British Labour Party politician and the Secretary of State for Health. [cite web | url= | title = BBC News: New faces in huge Cabinet revamp | accessdate = 2007-06-28] He has been the Member of Parliament for Hull West and Hessle since 1997. In 2004 he became the first trade union leader to become a Cabinet minister since Frank Cousins in 1964.

Early life

Born in London and orphaned at the age of 12 years when his mother died, Johnson was then effectively brought up by his older sister when the two were assigned a council flat by their child welfare officer. [ [ The charming Mr Johnson] , "The Economist", 14 September 2006] cite episode |title= Desert Island Discs with Alan Johnson |url=
series= Desert Island Discs | serieslink= Desert Island Discs | network= BBC | station= Radio 4 |airdate = 2007-10-07
] He passed the 11 plus exam and attended Sloane Grammar School in Chelsea and left school at the age of 15 years. He then stacked shelves at Tesco before becoming a postman at 18. He is interested in music and joined two pop music bands. Johnson joined the Union of Communication Workers, becoming a branch official. He joined the Labour Party in 1971, although he considered himself a Marxist ideologically aligned with the Communist Party of Great Britain. [cite web | url= | title=NS profile: Alan Johnson |publisher=New Statesman |accessdate =2006-08-20] A full-time union official from 1987, he became general secretary of the newly-formed Communication Workers Union in 1993 following a series of union mergers.

Before entering Parliament Johnson was a member of Labour's National Executive Committee. During this time he was the only major union leader to support the abolition of Clause IV.

Member of Parliament

Just three weeks before the 1997 general election Johnson was selected to stand for Parliament in the safe Labour seat of Hull West and Hessle when the previous incumbent, Stuart Randall, stood down suddenly. Randall was subsequently elevated to the House of Lords.

In government

He was appointed Parliamentary Private Secretary to Dawn Primarolo in 1997 and achieved his first ministerial post at the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in 1999. He was moved to the Department for Education and Skills in 2003 as Minister for Higher Education though he had left school at 15.

Johnson entered the Cabinet in September 2004 as Secretary of State for Work and Pensions after the resignation of Andrew Smith. After the 2005 election he was appointed to the post of Secretary of State for Productivity, Energy and Industry as head of a department which replaced the DTI but which soon reverted to the old name. On 5 May 2006, one day after the English local elections, his brief was changed to that of Secretary of State for Education and Skills, replacing Ruth Kelly.

He became Secretary of State for Health on 28 June 2007, succeeding Patricia Hewitt. Johnson became infamous for attacking breast cancer patient Debbie Hirst because she attempted to buy the cancer drug Avastin which the NHS had denied her. Johnson told Parliament, patients “cannot, in one episode of treatment, be treated on the NHS and then allowed, as part of the same episode and the same treatment, to pay money for more drugs. That way lies the end of the founding principles of the NHS.” []

Education Secretary

During his time as education secretary, Johnson brought in new ideas and proposals, including encouraging parents to spend more time with their children in a bid to help them progress with their literacy and numeracy skills. [cite web | url= | title = Parents urged to read to children | publisher = BBC news | accessdate = 2007-06-28] Johnson has also previously expressed some concerns over diplomas. [Cite web | url= | title = Diplomas 'may go horribly wrong' | publisher = BBC news | accessdate = 2007-06-28] Johnson has also opened-up a debate in parliament discussing what parental situation is best. He stated it is the parents themselves who make the difference not what marital situation they are in [Cite web | url= | publisher = BBC news | title = Johnson opens up family debate | accessdate = 2007-06-28] . Johnson looked at improving pay and working conditions for teachers during his tenure as Education Secretary [cite web | url= | title = Fairer pay for part-time teachers | publisher = BBC news | accessdate = 2007-06-28] .

Although Johnson supported many proposals from the left, he has also been criticised for supporting the reactionary right. His voting record from the Public Whip sees him voting strongly in favour of ID Cards and student top-up fess. He also voted strongly in favour of the Iraq war and Labour's anti-terror laws. Furthermore, he voted strongly against an investigation into the Iraq war. []

Deputy Leadership

Johnson publicly stated in May 2006 he expected to stand for the post of Deputy Leader of the Labour Party when John Prescott stepped down. Some suggested he might stand against Gordon Brown for the leadership of the Labour Party when Tony Blair resigned, and various reports in the summer of 2006 suggested he would become the favoured candidate of the Blairite factionFact|date=February 2007.

Johnson told the BBC in an interview on November 9 2006 [cite web | url= | publisher = BBC news | title = Johnson backing Brown for leader | accessdate = 2007-06-28] that he would in fact be supporting Brown and standing as deputy leader. He was successfully nominated onto the ballot paper for Labour Deputy leader with most number of nominations. On 24 June 2007 [cite web | url= | title = Harman wins deputy leader contest | publisher = BBC news | accessdate = 2007-06-28] , Johnson was narrowly beaten for the deputy leadership by Harriet Harman. He led in rounds 2 to 4 of the voting, until he was overtaken by Harman in the last round, eventually finishing with 49.56% of the vote.

Personal life

*Married 1st, 1968, Judith Cox (divorced) (1 son, 2 daughters).
*Married 2nd, August 3, 1991, Laura Jane Patient (1 son).

Johnson is open about being an atheist and has categorically stated to the press that he does not believe in the existence of a God [ cite web | date = 2007-12-08 | title = While Blair converts to Catholicism, only 8 Ministers say they believe in God | url = | format = HTML | publisher = Daily Mail | accessdate = 2008-03-04 ] .


External links

* [ Alan Johnson MP] official site
* [ Alan Johnson Deputy Leadership campaign official site]
* [,9290,-2733,00.html Guardian Unlimited Politics - Ask Aristotle: Alan Johnson MP]
* [ - Alan Johnson MP]
* [ New Statesman - NS Profile: Alan Johnson] 29 November 2004
* [ BBC: Alan Johnson MP] 22 October 2002


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