Conor Burns

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Conor Burns
Member of Parliament
for Bournemouth West
Assumed office
6 May 2010
Preceded by John Butterfill
Majority 5,583 (13.4%)
Personal details
Born (1972-09-24) 24 September 1972 (age 42)
Belfast, Northern Ireland
Nationality British
Political party Conservative
Residence Westbourne, Dorset
Alma mater University of Southampton
Religion Roman Catholic

Conor Burns[1] (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.

Early life[edit]

Burns lived in Belfast before moving with his family to Hertfordshire in 1980.[2] He was educated at St Columba's College, St Albans and read Modern History and Politics at the University of Southampton.[2] Whilst at Southampton he was chairman of the University's Conservative Association, 1992–93 and Chairman of Wessex Area Conservatives, 1993-94.[3] 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.[4] He later had a number of jobs in the communications and finance sectors,[2] most recently as an associate director of the public affairs company PLMR.[5] He was previously a director of the Policy Research Centre for Business Ltd, Company Secretary of De Havilland Global Knowledge Distribution plc[6] and served as the manager of the Zurich Advice Network, managing 150 financial advisors.[7]

Political career[edit]

Burns was an elected councillor on Southampton City Council for three years from 1999, serving as the Conservative Group leader from 2001.

Burns stood as the Conservative Party candidate for Eastleigh in the 2001 general election, finishing second with 34.3% of the vote.

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.[8] Burns was a member of the A-List of candidates and was selected in September 2008.[9]

Burns was elected to the House of Commons as Member of Parliament for Bournemouth West in the 2010 general election with a majority of 5,583.[10]

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.[11]

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.[12]

Political interests[edit]

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.[13] He was outspoken in calling on former Home Secretary Jacqui Smith to grant asylum to young gay Iranian student Mehdi Kazemi.[14][15]

A strong Eurosceptic, Burns has been critical of the electoral system used to elect Members of the European Parliament[16] and the impact of UK Independence Party candidates[17] in denying victory to Conservative candidates.

A friend of Captain James Philippson who died in Afghanistan,[18] 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".[19]

Despite earlier stating that he needed "cast iron guarantees" that religious organisations will not be forced into conducting same sex marriages,[20] he voted for the legislation .[21] Burns is openly gay.


External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
John Butterfill
Member of Parliament for Bournemouth West