Gordon Birtwistle

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Gordon Birtwistle
Gordon Birtwistle pre-MP at Birmingham 2010.jpg
Member of Parliament
for Burnley
Assumed office
6 May 2010
Preceded by Kitty Ussher
Majority 1,818 (4.3%)
Personal details
Born (1943-09-06) 6 September 1943 (age 71)[1]
Oswaldtwistle, Lancashire, England
Nationality British
Political party Liberal Democrats
Spouse(s) Married

Gordon Birtwistle (born 6 September 1943) is a British Liberal Democrat politician. He is the Member of Parliament (MP) for the constituency of Burnley, England, from May 2010. He was Parliamentary Private Secretary to Danny Alexander, Chief Secretary to the Treasury.[1] He is currently Government Apprenticeship Ambassador to Business.


Birtwistle started as a craft engineering apprentice in 1958 with Howard & Bullough who were textile machinery manufacturers in Accrington. He studied engineering at Accrington College on one day release and two nights a week and achieved two higher nationals, one in mechanical engineering and one in production engineering.

At the age of 21 he became a jig and tool draftsman with the same company and stayed there until 1968 when he went to work for Lucas Aerospace in Burnley as a machine shop methods engineer. He stayed there until aged 30 when he became a technical representative for Osborne Mushet Tools in Sheffield, who were manufacturers of metal cutting tools.

After five years he left to set up his own company called C&G Cutter Grinding Services in Blackburn. Birtwistle sold this company in the mid-1980s to a large engineering PLC whom he continued to work for. After four years he set up P&J Engineering Supplies, buying and selling engineering tools. In the late 1990s he bought Stewart Engineering (precision engineers) with a partner. This later folded due to a bad debt in 2002. P&J is still in existence but Birtwistle retired in 2008.


Before entering Parliament he had been Burnley Council leader since 2006, and a local councillor since 1982. He originally entered politics as a Labour councillor in the 1970s.[2]


Birtwistle took Burnley from Labour for the Liberal Democrats in the 2010 General Election, with a 12% swing and 1,818 majority.[1]

On election his three main aims were returning the Emergency department to Burnley General Hospital; bringing new high-value jobs and firms to Burnley; and reinstating direct rail travel between Burnley and Manchester.[2]

He has enjoyed some success with the reinstatement of the Todmorden Curve which would enable a direct rail link between Manchester and Burnley. The 500 metre stretch of track, unused since the 1960s, is on course to be rebuilt by 2013 and it is expected to have trains running direct from Burnley to Manchester from 2014.[3]

He has continued to encourage manufacturing jobs and firms to invest in Burnley, hosting a manufacturing summit for the North West region in Burnley in June 2011[4] and expressing ambitions to hold an exhibition of Burnley's manufacturing strength in 2012.[5]

He was one of only a few Lib Dem MPs to oppose allowing same-sex couples to marry, rebelling against his party in a number of Commons votes on the issue.[6] He has been quoted as saying "Civil partnerships are fine. Gay marriage is just not on" and "I have been against it right from the beginning because I believe that’s the view of the vast majority of people in Burnley".[7][8]

In March 2013 he was appointed as Government Apprenticeship Ambassador to Business, a new role intended to raise the profile and prestige of apprenticeships.[9]


Gordon is married with two grown-up children, and in his spare time enjoys keeping fit, golf and gardening.


  1. ^ a b c "Gordon Birtwistle MP". BBC Democracy Live (BBC). Retrieved 25 July 2010. 
  2. ^ a b Introducing East Lancashire's four new MPs (From Blackburn Citizen). Blackburncitizen.co.uk (11 May 2010). Retrieved on 4 February 2013.
  3. ^ Todmorden Curve could be running by 2013 (From Lancashire Telegraph). Lancashiretelegraph.co.uk (17 May 2011). Retrieved on 4 February 2013.
  4. ^ Business Secretary Vince Cable outlines key to Burnley’s future – Business News. Burnley Express (21 June 2011). Retrieved on 4 February 2013.
  5. ^ GORDON BIRTWISTLE MP: Let’s stage The Great Exhibition of 2012 – Columnists. Burnley Express (16 March 2011). Retrieved on 4 February 2013.
  6. ^ Voting Record — Gordon Birtwistle MP, Burnley, Public Whip
  7. ^ Lib Dem MP Gordon Birtwistle: ‘Gay marriage is just not on’, Pink News, 17 December 2012
  8. ^ 'Most people in the borough oppose gay marriage' says Burnley MP Gordon Birtwistle, Lancashire Telegraph, 24 May 2013
  9. ^ New government ambassadors created to promote apprenticeships Government Digital Service - Press release, 14 March 2013

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Kitty Ussher
Member of Parliament for Burnley