|Member of Parliament
for Bournemouth West
6 May 2010
|Preceded by||John Butterfill|
24 September 1972 |
Belfast, Northern Ireland
|Alma mater||University of Southampton|
Conor Burns (born 24 September 1972) is a British Conservative Party politician. He was elected as the Member of Parliament (MP) for Bournemouth West at the 2010 general election. He was Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) to Secretary of State for Northern Ireland between 2010 and 2012, before resigning from the Government due to his opposition to the Lords Reform Bill.
Burns lived in Belfast before moving with his family to Hertfordshire in 1980. He was educated at St Columba's College, St Albans and read Modern History and Politics at the University of Southampton. Whilst at Southampton he was chairman of the University's Conservative Association, 1992–93 and Chairman of Wessex Area Conservatives, 1993-94. In 1994 Burns stood unsuccessfully in the Southampton Council elections. In the run-up to the election Burns was criticised for referring to hecklers as "spastics" and calling a woman a "hunchback". He subsequently faced a students union disciplinary hearing as the vice-president of the Southampton Conservative Association. He later had a number of jobs in the communications and finance sectors, most recently as an associate director of the public affairs company PLMR. He was previously a director of the Policy Research Centre for Business Ltd, Company Secretary of De Havilland Global Knowledge Distribution plc and served as the manager of the Zurich Advice Network, managing 150 financial advisors.
Burns was an elected councillor on Southampton City Council for three years from 1999, serving as the Conservative Group leader from 2001.
Burns was an unsuccessful candidate at the Hedge End Town Council elections, before coming second in the 2005 general election, again finishing second at Eastleigh with 37.5% of the vote, 568 votes behind Chris Huhne. Burns was a member of the A-List of candidates and was selected in September 2008.
He was appointed as Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) to Hugo Swire, the Minister of State at the Northern Ireland Office in 2010, before which he briefly sat on the Education select committee. By 2012, Conor was then promoted to be PPS to the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Owen Paterson. However, he resigned on 10 July 2012 in order to vote against the Coalition's Lords Reform Bill, of which he had been a consistent critic.
He became close to Margaret Thatcher in the later years of her life and spoke in the House of Commons debate on 10 April 2013 following her death.
Writing in 2008, Burns called for the international community to prepare a contingency plan for the governance of Zimbabwe after the eventual departure from office of Robert Mugabe. He was outspoken in calling on former Home Secretary Jacqui Smith to grant asylum to young gay Iranian student Mehdi Kazemi.
A strong Eurosceptic, Burns has been critical of the electoral system used to elect Members of the European Parliament and the impact of UK Independence Party candidates in denying victory to Conservative candidates.
A friend of Captain James Philippson who died in Afghanistan, Burns has been critical of the perceived failure of the Ministry of Defence to provide troops with appropriate equipment, stating that many troops "would be alive today had they had the most basic of equipment".
After earlier stating that he needed "cast iron guarantees" that religious organisations will not be forced into conducting same sex marriages, he voted for the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013. Burns is openly gay.
In 2014 he referred the charity Oxfam to the Charity Commission stating that a tweet from the charity was "overtly political". He later criticised a letter from Church of England bishops urging Christians to engage with the 2015 election as "naive" and "factually wrong".
- "List of Members returned to serve in Parliament at the General Election 2010". London Gazette. 13 May 2010. Retrieved 20 May 2010.
- "Conor Burns". The Conservative Party. Retrieved 9 May 2010.
- Merrin, Tom (12 April 1994). "Lilley pal ‘spastics’ outburst". The Daily Mirror (London).
- PR Week 11 May 2010 "Many lobbyists win seats but some see majority decreased" by David Singleton
- "Vote 2001 Candidates". BBC News.
- "Eastleigh". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 9 May 2010.
- "Bournemouth West". BBC News. Retrieved 9 May 2010.
- "Lords reform: Government abandons crucial vote amid likely defeat". BBC News. 10 July 2012.
- Nicholas Watt and Patrick Wintour "Margaret Thatcher debate reopens raw wounds among Tory veterans", The Guardian, 10 April 2013
- "MoD criticised for soldier deaths". BBC News. 15 February 2008.
- "Gay Ulster born MP Conor Burns not for same sex marriage". News Letter. October 18, 2012. Retrieved October 18, 2012.
- "MP wants watchdog to probe 'overtly political' Oxfam campaign". June 10, 2014. Retrieved April 23, 2015.
- "Tories Hit Back At 'Left-Wing' Bishops' Letter". February 18, 2015. Retrieved April 23, 2015.
- "Is The Bishops' Letter Unfair 'Tory Bashing'?". February 18, 2015. Retrieved April 23, 2015.
- Conor Burns MP Conservative Party profile
- Bournemouth West Conservatives
- Profile at Parliament of the United Kingdom
- Current session contributions in Parliament at Hansard
- Electoral history and profile at The Guardian
- Voting record at Public Whip
- Record in Parliament at TheyWorkForYou
- Profile at Westminster Parliamentary Record
- Profile at BBC News Democracy Live
|Parliament of the United Kingdom|
|Member of Parliament for Bournemouth West