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Richard Haines 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 served as a Shadow Transport Minister from 2013 to 2016 and again from 2016 to 2017.[1] He is now a member of the House of Commons International Development Committee.

Richard Burden
Official portrait of Richard Burden crop 2.jpg
Shadow Minister for Roads & Road Safety
In office
11 October 2013 – 27 June 2016
LeaderJeremy Corbyn
Harriet Harman
Ed Miliband
Preceded byJim Fitzpatrick (politician)
Member of Parliament
for Birmingham Northfield
In office
10 April 1992 – 6 November 2019
Preceded byRoger King
Succeeded byElection in progress
Majority4,667 (10.5%)
Personal details
Born (1954-09-01) 1 September 1954 (age 65)
Liverpool, Lancashire, England
Political partyLabour
Alma materUniversity of York, University of Warwick
WebsiteOfficial website

Early lifeEdit

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 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 careerEdit

Entering ParliamentEdit

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 BackbenchesEdit

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.

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 UK 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 a 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 a Shadow Ministerial role under Jeremy Corbyn after the new leader was elected in 2015.[1] He resigned from this position following a vote of no confidence in Corbyn by members of the Parliamentary party, telling Corbyn he was "making a bad situation worse" by choosing to remain Labour leader.[10] He supported Owen Smith in the failed attempt to replace Jeremy Corbyn in the 2016 Labour Party (UK) leadership election.[11] He rejoined the frontbench as Shadow Transport Minister in October 2016, with responsibility for aviation, maritime, roads and future transport. He stayed in this post until the 2017 General Election, after which he stood down from the frontbench to join the International Development Committee.


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 is also Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Motor Group.[12]

He 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. ^ a b "Richard Burden MP – UK Parliament Profile". UK Parliament. Retrieved 20 March 2018.
  2. ^ Hansard 19 May 1992
  3. ^ "Government orders Rover Inquiry". BBC News. 16 April 2005. Archived from the original on 21 October 2007.
  4. ^ "Rover Sold to Nanjing Automotive". BBC News. 23 July 2005. Archived from the original on 21 October 2007.
  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.
  9. ^ Burden, Richard (11 October 2013). "Appointment as Shadow Transport Minister". Retrieved 29 September 2015.
  10. ^ Walker, Jonathan (27 June 2016). "Birmingham MP Richard Burden resigns from Corbyn's team and tells him: 'You're just making it worse'". Birmingham Mail. Retrieved 10 July 2016.
  11. ^ "Full list of MPs and MEPs backing challenger Owen Smith". LabourList. 21 July 2016. Retrieved 15 July 2019.
  12. ^ Commons, The Committee Office, House of. "House of Commons - Register Of All-Party Parliamentary Groups as at 14 March 2018: Motor". Retrieved 20 March 2018.

External linksEdit