Alan Milburn (born 27
January 1958) is a British Labour politician, who has been the
Member of Parliament for
Darlington since 1992, and served in the Cabinet, firstly as Secretary of State for Health
from 1999 until 2003, when he resigned, citing lack of balance with
his family life, before rejoined it as Chancellor of the Duchy of
Lancaster in order to manage Labour's 2005 re-election campaign.
On 26 June 2009, he told his local party that he would not be
standing at the next general election
He stated, "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."
was born in the village of Tow Law in County Durham, England and grew up in Newcastle-upon-Tyne.
He is from a working class
He was educated at John Marley 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
shop was given the spoonerised
Haze of Dope
). 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
the couple split up in the late 1980s.
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
(MSF) Trade Union
Meanwhile, he won the seat of Darlington in the 1992 general
He is a supporter of Newcastle
Member of Parliament
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
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
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.
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.
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. 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 Alan Milburn
taking a back seat, with Gordon Brown
returning to take a very prominent role. On election night 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
Alan Milburn was still unsure whether to enter the leadership
election when Tony Blair left office, which eventually occurred on
27 June the following year, with Brown subsequently assuming the
prime ministerial role unopposed. He is the honorary president of
the political organisation Progress
, which is often described
as a Blairite faction of the Labour Party.
Following his resignation as Secretary of State for Health (to
spend more time with his family), Alan Milburn took a post for
Â£30,000 a year as an adviser to Bridgepoint Capital
, a venture capital
firm heavily involved in financing private health care firms moving
into the NHS, including Alliance
, Match Group
and Robina Care
.He has been Member of Advisory Board of Pepsico
since April 2007.
Possible leadership contender
On 8 September 2006, after Tony Blair had announced his intention
to step down within a year, Charles
suggested Milburn as leader in place of Gordon
On 28 February 2007, he and Charles
The 2020 Vision, a website intended to
promote policy debate in the Labour Party.
In 2007 Alan Milburn worked as an advisor to Australian Prime
Minister Kevin Rudd
Alan Milburn now also holds a place on the board of PepsiCo
as an advisor.
Chair of Social Mobility Commission
Between January and July 2009, Alan Milburn chaired a commission on
social mobility, the Panel on Fair Access to
. 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.