Liam Byrne

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
The Right Honourable
Liam Byrne
MP
Shadow Secretary of State for
Work and Pensions
In office
20 January 2011 – 7 October 2013
Leader Ed Miliband
Preceded by Douglas Alexander
Succeeded by Rachel Reeves
Shadow Minister for the Cabinet Office
In office
8 October 2010 – 20 January 2011
Leader Ed Miliband
Preceded by Tessa Jowell
Succeeded by Tessa Jowell
Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury
In office
11 May 2010 – 8 October 2010
Leader Harriet Harman
Ed Miliband
Preceded by Philip Hammond
Succeeded by Angela Eagle
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
In office
5 June 2009 – 11 May 2010
Prime Minister Gordon Brown
Preceded by Yvette Cooper
Succeeded by David Laws
Minister for the Cabinet Office
In office
3 October 2008 – 5 June 2009
Prime Minister Gordon Brown
Preceded by Ed Miliband
Succeeded by Tessa Jowell
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
In office
3 October 2008 – 5 June 2009
Prime Minister Gordon Brown
Preceded by Ed Miliband
Succeeded by The Baroness Royall of Blaisdon
Minister of State for Borders and Immigration
In office
22 May 2006 – 3 October 2008
Prime Minister Tony Blair
Gordon Brown
Preceded by Tony McNulty (Immigration, Citizenship and Nationality)
Succeeded by Phil Woolas
Member of Parliament
for Birmingham Hodge Hill
Incumbent
Assumed office
15 July 2004
Preceded by Terry Davis
Majority 10,302 (24.3%)
Personal details
Born (1970-10-02) 2 October 1970 (age 43)
Warrington, Lancashire (now Cheshire), United Kingdom
Political party Labour
Spouse(s) Sarah Byrne
Alma mater University of Manchester
Harvard Business School
Website LiamByrne.co.uk

Liam Dominic Byrne (born 2 October 1970) is a British Labour Party politician who has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for Birmingham Hodge Hill since 2004, and is the current Shadow Minister for Universities, Science and Skills.[1] He previous served as Chief Secretary to the Treasury in Gordon Brown's Government.

Early life[edit]

Born in Warrington, Byrne was educated at Burnt Mill School in Harlow and completed his A levels at The Hertfordshire and Essex High School in Bishop's Stortford. He went on to study at the University of Manchester, where he obtained a First class honours in Politics and Modern History and was elected the Communications Officer of the University of Manchester Students' Union. He also holds an MBA from the Harvard Business School where he was a Fulbright Scholar. Byrne was the rhythm guitarist in a Second Generation Punk Rock band, Carnal Opportunities the band originally split up in 1995, abbreviated by their fan base to, CO ! the band met a revival of their success in the early 90's but Byrne dropped out due to academic and carrier commitments. He left before the band had realised their, EP Pressure The Poor. Released on independent label RDLB(rouge dans le bleu) in 1992. Bryne was lead vocalist on Do Anything and Capital Calling. He also sung the chorus to lead singer Mahrs Barr's lead on the verse; On the songs Stop the day ! and Successful Believer.

Before working in Parliament, he worked for the multi-national consulting firm, Accenture and merchant bankers, N M Rothschild & Sons, before co-founding a venture backed technology company, e-Government Solutions Group, in 2000. Between 1996 and 1997 he advised the Labour Party on the re-organisation of its Millbank headquarters, and helped lead Labour's business campaign under the 'New Labour' scheme.

Parliamentary career[edit]

He was selected to contest the Birmingham Hodge Hill by-election following the resignation of the veteran Labour MP Terry Davis to become the Secretary General of the Council of Europe. After a very close contest, on 15 July 2004, the same day as Labour lost Leicester South in another by-election, Byrne held on with a majority of just 460. He made his maiden speech on 22 July 2004[2]

Following his re-election with an increased majority on 5 May 2005, he was appointed Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department of Health, an unusually fast promotion to ministerial rank. He was re-elected at the May 2010 general election.[3]

Home Office[edit]

Following the 2006 local elections, he was promoted to Minister of State for policing, security and community safety at the Home Office, replacing Hazel Blears, one of the highest-profile roles in the government outside the cabinet. However, just a fortnight later Home Secretary John Reid moved him to the immigration role, switching portfolios with Tony McNulty. McNulty had been connected with the foreign prisoners scandal that caused Tony Blair to sack Charles Clarke in May 2006. Byrne's move was seen as an attempt by Reid to establish an entirely new team to sort out the immigration system. During this period he was also Minister for the West Midlands. Gordon Brown named him Minister for the Cabinet Office in October 2008, replacing the promoted Ed Miliband, and was appointed to the Privy Council as a result.

Immigration/taxi driver controversy[edit]

In November 2006 Byrne was responsible for a change to Britain's immigration rules preventing migrants who had entered under Britain's Highly Skilled Migrant Programme (HSMP) having their permission to remain in Britain extended unless they could show both that they had been earning at least £32,000 pa while in Britain and that they had a good knowledge of English. This change was controversial because it applies retrospectively to immigrants who had entered Britain under the old rules, meaning the British Government had "moved the goalposts" - a degree is effectively now an essential requirement, regardless of the skills or economic contribution that an individual can demonstrate.[4][5] In their report into the changes, the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights said that "The changes to the Rules are so clearly incompatible with Article 8, and so contrary to basic notions of fairness, that the case for immediately revisiting the changes to the Rules in Parliament is in our view overwhelming."[6] Appeal cases have been won on appeal on the grounds that applicants had a legitimate expectation that the rules would not change to their detriment.[7] A judicial review has been successfully brought against the government, with their actions when applying the new HSMP rules to those HSMP holders already in Britain as at 7 November 2006 being ruled as unlawful.[8]

Byrne is in favour of legislation for a Migration Act similar to the 1958 immigration law in Australia which is administered by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC).

In 2007, Byrne was criticised by London's cab drivers for his remarks that they were "low-skilled". This ignored the fact that the cabbies study the details of London's streets for an average of eighteen months before becoming licensed.[9]

"British Day"[edit]

In June 2008, Byrne suggested the "August bank holiday" to be made a weekend of national celebration (the so-called "British Day") in a speech to a New Labour think tank. However, Scotland's August bank holiday is held on a different date from that in Wales and England. He later retracted this - after pressure from the Scottish National Party - saying he was merely trying to "get the debate started".[10]

Cabinet Office[edit]

In a cabinet reshuffle on 3 October 2008 he was promoted, becoming Minister for the Cabinet Office and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster.[11]

Leaked staffing requirements memo[edit]

In November 2008 an 11-page memo written by Byrne entitled "Working With Liam Byrne" was leaked to the press. In the memo, Byrne listed his demands from his staff, memorably including his requirement for a cappuccino on his arrival in the office, an espresso at 3 pm, and soup between 12:30 pm and 1 pm. Byrne also instructed officials to tell him "not what you think I should know, but you expect I will get asked." He warns staff that they should "Never put anything to me unless you understand it and can explain it to me in 60 seconds... If I see things that are not of acceptable quality, I will blame you."[12] Conservative MP Philip Davies commented that "This is not a briefing note for civil servants, it’s a briefing note for slaves."[13] Although The Guardian described Liam Byrne as an "eager diva",[12] a spokesman for Byrne commented that the memo had been written in 2006, and that "He is a highly efficient Minister but has become more flexible since then. Some days, he has his soup at 1:30 pm."[13]

Departure from the Treasury[edit]

On leaving his position as Chief secretary to the Treasury following the change of British government in May 2010, Byrne left a note to his successor David Laws saying "Dear Chief Secretary, I’m afraid there is no money. Kind regards – and good luck! Liam."[14] Byrne later claimed that it was just typical humour between politicians, but regretted it since the new government used it to justify the wave of cuts that were introduced.[15]

Road safety[edit]

Byrne has been a vocal campaigner for road safety and handed in a petition in to Parliament in 2005 demanding tougher punishments for dangerous drivers. He sat on the parliamentary committee that shaped the 2006 Road Safety Act, which increased fixed penalty fines for driving while using a mobile. On 2 November 2007 he was fined £100 and received three points on his driving licence for using his mobile telephone while driving.[16]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.labourbisteam.org.uk/your-shadow-bis-team
  2. ^ "Debates for 22 July 2004 - 2:23 pm". Hansard. 2004. Retrieved 22 July 2004. 
  3. ^ Birmingham City Council: General Election 2010
  4. ^ Dismore, Andrew (9 August 2007). "Moving the goalposts mid-game". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 7 May 2010. 
  5. ^ Ford, Richard (9 August 2007). "Rule change cheats skilled migrant workers". The Times (London). Retrieved 7 May 2010. 
  6. ^ Joint Committee On Human Rights - Twentieth Report
  7. ^ UK tribunal sides with HSMP visa holder denied extension under new rules
  8. ^ HSMP Forum Ltd, R (on the application of) v Secretary of State for the Home Department
  9. ^ "Fury of taxi drivers as minister calls them 'low-skilled'". Daily Mail (London). 9 August 2007. 
  10. ^ BBC News | Politics | Minister in 'British Day blunder'
  11. ^ Summers, Deborah (3 October 2008). "Government reshuffle: Profile: Liam Byrne". guardian.co.uk (London). Retrieved 2008-10-03. 
  12. ^ a b Topping, Alexandra (17 November 2008). "Leaked demands portray minister as an eager diva". guardian.co.uk (London). Retrieved 2009-01-13. 
  13. ^ a b Carlin, Brendan (15 November 2008). "Gordon Brown's control freak enforcer and his 'cappuccino and soup' instruction manual for civil servants". guardian.co.uk (London). Retrieved 2009-01-13. 
  14. ^ "Exclusive video of infamous Treasury memo". ITV News West Country. 24 June 2013. 
  15. ^ "Liam Byrne shows regret over 'no money' letter". BBC. 13 June 2013. Retrieved 17 June 2013. 
  16. ^ "Byrne fined over car mobile use". BBC News. 2 November 2007. Retrieved 7 May 2010. 

External links[edit]

News articles
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Terry Davis
Member of Parliament for Birmingham Hodge Hill
2004–present
Incumbent
Political offices
Preceded by
Tony McNulty
as Minister of State for Immigration, Citizenship and Nationality
Minister of State for Borders and Immigration
2006–2008
Succeeded by
Phil Woolas
Preceded by
Ed Miliband
Minister for the Cabinet Office
2008–2009
Succeeded by
Tessa Jowell
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
2008–2009
Succeeded by
The Baroness Royall of Blaisdon
Preceded by
Yvette Cooper
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
2009–2010
Succeeded by
David Laws
Preceded by
Philip Hammond
Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury
2010
Succeeded by
Angela Eagle
Preceded by
Tessa Jowell
Shadow Minister for the Cabinet Office
2010–2011
Succeeded by
Tessa Jowell
Preceded by
Douglas Alexander
Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
2011–2013
Succeeded by
Rachel Reeves