Alan Johnson MP – Curriculum Vitae

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					           Alan Johnson MP – Curriculum Vitae

Age: 56 (May 17 1950)
Constituency: Hull West & Hessle (elected 1997)
Majority: 9,450
Blog: None
Union: Union of Communication Workers
Career: Union leader turned MP
Jobs, committees, ministerial posts: Promoted to the cabinet
as work and pensions secretary in 2004, after the (first)
resignation of David Blunkett.

Currently serving as education secretary, after a stint at the
Department for Trade and Industry.

Before that he served as a junior minister in all three
departments, after his first job on entering parliament,
parliamentary private secretary to Dawn Primarolo at the

Relevant experience: The first union boss to make it into the
cabinet since the days of Harold Wilson and the 1960s, and
one of the youngest ever union general secretaries when he
led the Union of Communication Workers.

Forced Michael Heseltine to abandon Tory plans for Post
Office privatisation in the 1990s.

Shepherded greater maternity and paternity leave through
Commons, as well as the less popular policy of tuition fees.

Strengths: Chirpy, suave, straight-talking cockney.

Good on TV.

Genuinely working class in an increasingly middle-class

“Progressive mainstream” former Blairite. Quotes Atlee as his
philosophy: "The triumph of reasonableness and practicality
over doctrinaire impossibilism".

Was credited with “selling” the deeply unpopular tuition fees
bill to the parliamentary Labour party.

English, southern and working-class – a useful counterweight
to Gordon Brown.

Weaknesses: May suffer from formerly being known as
“Tony Blair’s favourite trade union leader”; Johnson was the
only union chief to support scrapping Clause 4.

Was blamed for “selling” the deeply unpopular tuition fees
bill to the parliamentary Labour party.
May have a frosty relationship with Gordon Brown, after
being touted by fellow Blairites as a contender for the top job.
Says himself he’s only not standing for leader because there is
“a more experienced and obvious candidate".

Seen as amibitious.

Why he wants the job: Stepping stone to Labour leadership.

In his own words: "As someone whose background,
foreground, mainland and hinterland are working-class, I
joined a party which understands that in order to effect change
it must not become a narrow class-based organisation…

"We need to revitalise and increase our membership, resolve
the party funding problem and develop fresh ideas for
campaigning effectively in a computer-literate society…

"I am not putting myself forward for leader… but I will be
able to assist, support, cajole and complement the person who
carries the heaviest of all political burdens."

Campaigns: The problems of Hull trawlermen, proportional
representation, poverty, family-friendly working hours.

References (ie supporters): Michael Cashman MEP, Gerry
Sutcliffe MP, Sadiq Khan MP, John Grogan MP, Laura
Moffat MP.