John Healey

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For those of a similar name, see John Healy (disambiguation).
The Right Honourable
John Healey
Shadow Secretary of State for Health
In office
8 October 2010 – 6 October 2011
Leader Ed Miliband
Preceded by Andy Burnham
Succeeded by Andy Burnham
Shadow Minister of State for Housing and Local Government
In office
11 May 2010 – 8 October 2010
Leader Harriet Harman
Ed Miliband
Preceded by Grant Shapps
Succeeded by Alison Seabeck
Minister of State for Housing and Planning
In office
5 June 2009 – 11 May 2010
Prime Minister Gordon Brown
Preceded by Margaret Beckett
Succeeded by Grant Shapps (Housing and Local Government)
Minister of State for Local Government
In office
28 June 2007 – 5 June 2009
Prime Minister Gordon Brown
Preceded by Phil Woolas
Succeeded by Rosie Winterton
Financial Secretary to the Treasury
In office
6 May 2005 – 28 June 2007
Prime Minister Tony Blair
Preceded by Stephen Timms
Succeeded by Jane Kennedy
Economic Secretary to the Treasury
In office
15 December 2002 – 6 May 2005
Prime Minister Tony Blair
Preceded by Ruth Kelly
Succeeded by Ed Balls
Member of Parliament
for Wentworth and Dearne
Wentworth (1997–2010)
Assumed office
1 May 1997
Preceded by Peter Hardy
Majority 13,920 (33.1%)
Personal details
Born (1960-02-13) 13 February 1960 (age 55)
Wakefield, West Riding of Yorkshire, England
Political party Labour
Spouse(s) Jackie Bate
Alma mater Christ's College, Cambridge
Website Official website

John Healey (born 13 February 1960) is a British Labour Party politician, who has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for Wentworth and Dearne since 1997, and former Minister of State for Housing and Planning. In 2010 he was elected to the shadow cabinet and appointed shadow health secretary. He stood down from the role in October 2011 and was succeeded by Andy Burnham.

Early life[edit]

John Healey was born in Wakefield and was educated at the Lady Lumley's School in Pickering and at the independent St Peter's School, York sixth form college. Healey studied Social and Political Science at Christ's College, Cambridge[1] where he received a BA in 1982. He worked as a journalist and the deputy editor of the internal magazine of the Palace of Westminster, The House Magazine for a year in 1983. In 1984 he became a full-time disability rights campaigner for several national charities.

Healey joined Issues Communications in 1990 as a campaign manager before becoming the head of communications at the Manufacturing, Science and Finance trade union in 1992. He was appointed as the campaign director with the Trades Union Congress in 1994 in which capacity he remained until his election to the House of Commons. He was also a tutor at the Open University Business School.

Healey's first venture into Parliamentary politics was an unsuccessful attempt to gain the Ryedale seat at the 1992 general election. As the Labour candidate, Healey finished in third place, some 30,076 votes behind the sitting Conservative John Greenway.

Member of Parliament[edit]


Although John Healey had not been the first choice as the Labour candidate in Wentworth for the 1997 general election he won by a convincing margin after a long campaign. It was rumoured that the Labour leadership had tried to insert the former Conservative MP for Stratford-on-Avon, Alan Howarth, who had crossed the floor and joined the Labour Party in 1995.

The other prospective candidates were journalist Yvette Cooper who went on to be selected for Pontefract and Castleford and Rotherham Cllrs. Ken Wyatt and Cllr. Roger Stone. Finally Healey was chosen for this very safe Labour seat.

Cllr. Stone went on to become leader of Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council until his resignation and suspension from the Labour Party due to the Rotherham child sexual exploitation scandal. At the 1997 general election, Healey successfully contested the seat of Wentworth, which had become available following the retirement of the Labour MP Peter Hardy. Healey held the seat with a majority of 23,959 and has remained the MP to date.

In government[edit]

Healey served as a member of the education and employment select committee from 1997 until he became the Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown in 1999. He was given an executive position following the 2001 general election in an appointment as the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Department for Education and Skills.

Healey was promoted in 2002 to the position of Economic Secretary to the Treasury and nominally again following the 2005 general election when he took the role of Financial Secretary to the Treasury.

Healey's responsibilities included government statistics, (including the Office for National Statistics which is to become an independent body after passage of the current bill he has been steering through parliament), along with implementation of the government's 10 year strategy for science and innovation, which directs spending of around £5 billion a year. Inter alia, this has led to the controversial abolition of the Research Assessment Exercise. However, he has never made a speech on this area of responsibility and did not answer questions about it.

On 29 June 2007, he was moved to the Department for Communities and Local Government as a result of a government reshuffle. His position as Financial Secretary was filled by Jane Kennedy. Shortly after his appointment he was announced as the Floods Recovery Minister, with responsibility for assisting the recovery from recent widespread flooding across the United Kingdom. It was announced he would be appointed to the Privy Council in October 2008.

In a Cabinet reshuffle on 5 June 2009, he was appointed Minister of State (Housing), replacing Margaret Beckett who had resigned.

Healey has held the following positions:

  • November 1999-June 2001 - Parliamentary Private Secretary to Gordon Brown as Chancellor of the Exchequer
  • June 2001-May 2002 - Parliamentary under Secretary of State for Skills
  • May 2002-May 2005 - Economic Secretary to the Treasury
  • May 2005-June 2007 - Financial Secretary to the Treasury
  • June 2007-June 2009 - Minister of State for Local Government
  • July 2007-June 2009 - Minister for Flood Recovery
  • June 2009–May 2010 - Minister of State for Housing
  • May 2010-October 2010 - Shadow Minister of State for Housing
  • October 2010–October 2011 - Shadow Secretary of State for Health

In opposition[edit]

Healey came second in the election for the shadow cabinet in 2010, and was appointed shadow health secretary. [1] Healey took the decision to stand down from the Shadow Cabinet in 2011 in order to spend more time with his family.[2]

Personal life[edit]

Healey married Jackie Bate on 25 October 1993 in Lambeth and they have one son. He opposes the minimum wage being set at a different level for young people and he campaigns for medals to be awarded to Suez Canal Zone veterans. He is a member of Amnesty International.


External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Peter Hardy
Member of Parliament for Wentworth
Constituency abolished
Preceded by
New constituency
Member of Parliament for Wentworth and Dearne
Political offices
Preceded by
Ruth Kelly
Economic Secretary to the Treasury
Succeeded by
Ivan Lewis
Preceded by
Stephen Timms
Financial Secretary to the Treasury
Succeeded by
Jane Kennedy
Preceded by
Phil Woolas
Minister of State for Local Government
Succeeded by
Rosie Winterton
Preceded by
Margaret Beckett
Minister of State for Housing and Planning
Succeeded by
Grant Shapps
as Minister of State for Housing and Local Government
Preceded by
Grant Shapps
Shadow Minister for Housing and Planning
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Andy Burnham
Shadow Secretary of State for Health
Succeeded by
Andy Burnham