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Colin Burgon (born 22 April 1948) is a British Labour Party politician who was the Member of Parliament (MP) for Elmet from 1997 to 2010.[1]

Colin Burgon
Member of Parliament
for Elmet
In office
2 May 1997 – 12 April 2010
Preceded bySpencer Batiste
Succeeded byConstituency Abolished
Personal details
Born (1948-04-22) 22 April 1948 (age 71)
Leeds, England
Political partyLabour
Alma materHuddersfield Polytechnic
Carnegie College, Leeds

Early lifeEdit

Foxwood School in Seacroft where Burgon was employed.

Colin Burgon was born in Leeds to Catholic, Labour-supporting parents. He was educated at St Charles R.C. Junior School and passed the eleven plus enabling him to attend St Michael's Catholic College in Woodhouse. In later life Burgon said that alighting the bus wearing a grammar school uniform in Gipton made him aware of the class system and made him "deplore structures that inherently deny opportunity to people".[2]

On leaving school Burgon trained as a teacher at Carnegie College, Leeds, then studied at Huddersfield Polytechnic. Burgon worked as a History teacher at Foxwood High School (which later became East Leeds Family Learning Centre and was demolished in 2009) a deprived secondary school in the Seacroft area of East Leeds, where he was an active member of the NUT union. Burgon left teaching and the NUT in 1987 to work for Wakefield District Council as a local government policy and research officer. He was also a research officer with the GMB Union. Burgon is an honorary member of the National Union of Mineworkers and was made so after his support for the 1984-85 miners' strike. Prior to being an MP, Burgon worked with Elmet miners and their families both during and after the strike.[2]

Parliamentary careerEdit

Burgon was the Election Agent for the Labour Party in Elmet in 1983 before being selected himself as the Labour candidate for Elmet. Burgon unsuccessfully contested Elmet in 1987 and 1992, losing both times to the incumbent Conservative Spencer Batiste.

In 1997, Burgon contested Elmet for the third time, finally defeating Batiste with an 8,779 majority. He was elected to sit on the Northern Ireland Select Committee in 2000, and the Home Affairs Select Committee in 2005. Burgon has also taken interest in socialism in South America, particularly in Venezuela. In May 2007, he wrote in The Guardian in support of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez and his government's controversial refusal to renew the broadcasting licence of a television station that had been openly supportive of the coup against Chávez's elected government.[3] Burgon is the current Chairman of Labour Friends of Venezuela. He is on the left of the Labour Party and has vociferously criticised what he calls the "neo-liberal" policies of the party leadership.[4] Burgon stood down from Parliament in 2010.[1]

Personal lifeEdit

Burgon is divorced and has one daughter. He has taken a keen interest in opencast mining, an important issue in Elmet. His nephew Richard Burgon is a Labour MP.[5]


  1. ^ a b "Wetherby MP to stand down at next election". Wetherby News. 23 April 2009.
  2. ^ a b "A brief biography". Archived from the original on 9 May 2008. Retrieved 7 January 2010.
  3. ^ Burgon, Colin (25 May 2007). "We should back Chávez". The Guardian. Manchester. Retrieved 7 January 2010.
  4. ^ "Labour must abandon its slick neoliberalism"
  5. ^ Pickard, Jim (16 May 2016). "Jeremy Corbyn's reluctant man in the City -". Financial Times. Retrieved 27 June 2016.

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