Richard Burden

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Richard Burden
Richard Burden MP.jpg
Shadow Minister for Roads & Road Safety
Assumed office
11 October 2013
Leader Ed Miliband
Preceded by Jim Fitzpatrick (politician)
Member of Parliament
for Birmingham Northfield
Assumed office
9 April 1992
Preceded by Roger King
Majority 2,782 (6.7%)
Personal details
Born (1954-09-01) 1 September 1954 (age 64)
Liverpool, Lancashire, England
Nationality British
Political party Labour
Alma mater University of York, University of Warwick
Website Official website

Richard Burden (born 1 September 1954) is a British Labour Party politician who has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for Birmingham Northfield since 1992. He is a Shadow Transport Minister. [1]

Early life

Burden was born in Liverpool. He attended the Wallasey Technical Grammar School; Bramhall Comprehensive School; St John's College of Further Education, Manchester; the University of York, where he obtained a degree in Politics and was the president of the Students' Union in 1976; and then to the University of Warwick where he received a Master's Degree in Industrial Relations.

On leaving university he was appointed the branch organiser in North Yorkshire in the National and Local Government Officers' Association in 1979, becoming the district officer for the West Midlands in 1981, a position he held until his election to Westminster. He is a member of the Transport and General Workers Union which he joined in 1979.

Political career

Entering Parliament

He contested the parliamentary seat of Meriden at the 1987 general election, where he was defeated by the sitting Conservative MP Iain Mills by a margin of 16,820. He was then selected to fight the Conservative-held marginal seat of Birmingham Northfield at the 1992 general election. Burden defeated the sitting Tory MP Roger King by just 630 votes and became a Labour MP. He made his maiden speech on 19 May 1992.[2]

After Labour formed the government following the 1997 general election, Burden was appointed the Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) to the Minister of State at the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food and fellow Birmingham MP Jeff Rooker, and he remained Rooker's PPS when he became the Minister of State at the Department of Social Security.

On the Backbenches

Following the 2001 general election Burden became a member of the Trade and Industry Select Committee, and after the 2005 election moved to the International Development Committee. He is now chairman of the Regional Select Committee for the West Midlands and on his election said (quote) "People in the West Midlands can sometimes feel that the world of politics and of government is remote from their everyday lives: that they don’t have real influence over the decisions that affect them and their family. I want to see the new West Midlands Regional Select Committee help to address that. All of the MPs on the Committee live in the West Midlands and represent local constituencies. The issues our region is facing are real enough – real issues and they affect real people. We know that right now businesses in the West Midlands are facing a really challenging time. That’s why one of our first actions will be to look at the availability of bank credit and how the support that Government is making available to business is working here in the region. The new Regional Select Committee has the potential to have a real impact in the West Midlands. We will show that people’s concerns about their jobs and their families’ futures are at the centre of our concerns here in Parliament.”

His Birmingham Northfield constituency was long dominated by the local car manufacturer MG Rover, which went into administration after negotiations with Chinese car manufacturer Shanghai Automotive failed in April 2005.[3] The site has since been sold to Chinese car company Nanjing Automotive.[4]

He was present at the meeting in Birmingham with Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, and Tony Woodley on the same day as the Pope's funeral in Rome in 2005, when the future of MG Rover was apparently decided. The decision made not to further support MG Rover resulted in the company going into administrative receivership, and 6,500 employees being made redundant in addition to many other employees of its car dealerships and component suppliers in the U.K. Burden has repeatedly raised the issue in Parliament, in relation to the local economy, jobs and skills.[5][6]

Burden is not a particularly frequent Labour rebel, but has voted against the government on a few occasions, most notably on the invasion of Iraq in 2003 and the 2005 anti-terror bill, which included provision to hold terrorist suspects for 90 days without trial.

He was re-elected at the May 2010 general election.[7] He was not invited to Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao's visit to Longbridge in June 2011 and complained bitterly to the local press at being excluded; it is not known why he was 'excluded', when other leading local politicians were invited, though he suggested it was a decision made by the then-Conservative-run City Council.[8]

Together with close friend and fellow ex-Young Liberal Peter Hain MP, he was an enthusiastic supporter of the unsuccessful Alternative Vote system in the May 2011 referendum.


Burden became Shadow Transport Minister under Ed Miliband in 2013, with responsibility for roads and road safety, motor agencies, cycling and future transport.[9]

He retained this Shadow Ministerial role under Jeremy Corbyn after the new leader was elected in 2015.[1]


Burden is Chair of the Palestine All Party Parliamentary Group and frequently asks questions of ministers on issues relating to the Middle East conflict. He is one of the most prominent parliamentary critics of Israeli policy in the region, particularly with regard to its expansion of settlements in the West Bank.

He also speaks French and is an avid motorsport fan. In 2002 he became the special advisor to the Minister of Sport, Richard Caborn on motorsport. He appeared on the Top Gear Season 2, Episode 2 special to find the fastest political party.


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Richard Burden MP - Profile". Dods People. Retrieved 29 September 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles> (Subscription required.)
  2. Hansard 19 May 1992
  3. "Government orders Rover Inquiry". BBC News. 16 April 2005. Archived from the original on 21 October 2007.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "Rover Sold to Nanjing Automotive". BBC News. 23 July 2005. Archived from the original on 21 October 2007.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. Hansard 18 January 2007
  6. Hansard 15 March 2007
  7. Birmingham City Council: General Election 2010
  8. Jonathan Walker (28 June 2011). "Longbridge MP claims he was excluded from meeting Chinese premier". Birmingham Post. Archived from the original on 12 October 2014. Retrieved 28 August 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. Burden, Richard (11 October 2013). "Appointment as Shadow Transport Minister". Retrieved 29 September 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Roger King
Member of Parliament for Birmingham Northfield