Alan Milburn

From Academic Kids

The Right Honourable Alan Milburn (born January 27, 1958) is a British politician. He is Labour MP for Darlington, and served in the Cabinet as Secretary of State for Health until he resigned citing lack of balance with his family life, and rejoined it as Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster for oversight of Labour's re-election campaign.

Milburn was born in the County Durham village Tow Law and grew up in Newcastle-upon-Tyne where he attended John Marley School and Stokesley Comprehensive School. He is from a working class background.

He went on to Lancaster University where he is reported to have been a supporter of Leon Trotsky's ideas. 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. From there he worked as a co-ordinator at the Trade Union Studies Information Unit.

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 MSF Trade Union. Meanwhile, he won the seat of Darlington in the 1992 general election.

In Parliament Milburn allied himself with the 'modernisers' in the Labour Party, becoming close to Tony Blair who sat for the next-door constituency. 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 December 23, 1998, Milburn was promoted to the Cabinet as Chief Secretary to the Treasury.

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. 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 (June 12, 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 reform of public services. He returned to government in September 2004, with the title of Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. He lead on planning the Labour Party's campaign in the 2005 general election.

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Preceded by:
Frank Dobson
Secretary of State for Health
Succeeded by:
John Reid
Preceded by:
Douglas Alexander
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
Succeeded by:
John Hutton

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