Paul Burstow

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The Right Honourable
Paul Burstow
Paul Burtsow Official.jpg
Minister of State for Care Services
In office
11 May 2010 – 4 September 2012
Prime Minister David Cameron
Preceded by Phil Hope
Succeeded by Norman Lamb
Chief Whip of the Liberal Democrats
In office
22 March 2006 – 11 May 2010
Preceded by Andrew Stunell
Succeeded by Alistair Carmichael
Member of Parliament
for Sutton and Cheam
In office
1 May 1997 – 30 March 2015
Preceded by Olga Maitland
Succeeded by Paul Scully
Personal details
Born (1962-05-13) 13 May 1962 (age 55)
Carshalton, England
Political party Social Democratic Party (Before 1988)
Liberal Democrats (1988–present)
Spouse(s) Mary Everdell Kemm
Children 1 son
2 daughters
Alma mater South Bank Polytechnic

Paul Kenneth Burstow (born 13 May 1962) is a British politician who served as the Liberal Democrat Member of Parliament for Sutton & Cheam for 18 years from 1997 to 2015.

In May 2010 he was appointed Minister of State for the Department of Health and served in that position until September 2012.

Early life[edit]

Burstow was born in Carshalton, son of a tailor, and was educated at Carshalton College and the South Bank Polytechnic where he obtained a degree in business studies. He started his career as a buying assistant with Allied Shoe Repairs in 1985. In 1986 he worked briefly in print sales with KallKwik Printers, before becoming a research assistant at the London Borough of Hounslow in 1987.

Politics before parliament[edit]

He was elected as a councillor for the Social Democratic Party (SDP) to the Sutton Borough Council in 1986, and was its deputy leader 1994-7, he remained a councillor for the Rosehill Ward in Sutton until 2002, after his election to parliament.

In 1988 he joined the Association of Liberal Democrat Councillors as a campaigns officer, becoming its political secretary in 1996, where he remained until becoming an MP.

Election and parliamentary career[edit]

Burstow first contested the Sutton and Cheam Parliamentary seat for the Liberal Democrats at the 1992 General Election. He was defeated by the Conservative Lady Olga Maitland despite achieving one of the largest swings to the Liberal Democrats in London at that election.

He contested the seat again in 1997, this time being elected as its Liberal Democrat MP with a majority of 2,097. Burstow joined several other new Lib Dem MPs as many other south west London seats were gained by the Liberal Democrats at the same election.

He made his maiden speech on 16 May 1997, speaking passionately about the needs of the blind and the disabled people.[1] On his election, Burstow immediately became a spokesman on the Environment under Paddy Ashdown. He became the spokesman on Social Security in 1999 on the election of Charles Kennedy as the Leader of the Liberal Democrats.

After the 2001 General Election, Burstow became the Health spokesman for the Liberal Democrats. He has been the parliamentary ambassador to the NSPCC since 2001. He was promoted to the Liberal Democrat Shadow Cabinet as the Shadow Secretary of State for Health in 2003. He stepped down from the Liberal Democrat Shadow Cabinet following the 2005 General Election, but was appointed as the spokesman on London. On 22 March 2006, Liberal Democrats MPs elected him their Chief Whip.[2]

In 2003, The Guardian described Burstow as "One of the most knowledgeable and effective politicians on older people's issues".[3] He was voted by MPs as older people's champion in the epolitix Charity Champion awards[4] in December 2005.

Burstow introduced the Care of Older and Incapacitated People (Human Rights) Bill in January 2006. It provided proposals to increase the protection of vulnerable adults from abuse and neglect. In 2007 he introduced an Early Day Motion congratulating the National Benevolent Fund for the Aged on its 50th anniversary.[5]

Minister of State[edit]

At the 2010 General Election Burstow was re-elected MP for Sutton and Cheam with a slim majority of 1,608 votes.[6] He was then appointed Minister of State in the Department of Health in the coalition government. He was responsible for care services and the elderly.[7]

In December 2010, Burstow said he was "embarrassed" after being secretly taped by The Daily Telegraph saying voters should not trust David Cameron. Burstow told undercover reporters: "I don't want you to trust David Cameron... in the sense that you believe he's suddenly become a cuddly Liberal. Well, he hasn't. He's still a Conservative and he has values that I don't share."[8]

Burstow later told the BBC that he was sorry at the way his remarks had been construed and that he had "full trust" in David Cameron.[8]

In September 2012 Burstow left the government and was replaced as Care Minister by Norman Lamb .[7] Burstow criticised plans to cut hospital services in London. Burstow said that a planned closure of a casualty and maternity unit in south-west London put patient safety at risk and warned that it was likely to lead to "more mothers giving birth in the back of their car".[9]

Subsequent career[edit]

He was appointed Chair of the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust from November 2015 and became a part-time honorary visiting professor at City University London specialising in the impact of public policy and government on health and social care.[10] He is a Trustee of Action on Smoking and Health.

Personal life[edit]

He married Mary Burstow, a Liberal Democrat councillor for Cheam[11], in 1995 and they have a son and two daughters. His interests include cooking, reading, and walking.[6]


  1. ^ Paul Burstow's Maiden Speech - Hansard
  2. ^ Lib Dems name Burstow chief whip - BBC News 22 March 2006
  3. ^ The opposition - The Guardian 10 September 2003
  4. ^ Paul Burstow Archived 17 December 2005 at the Wayback Machine. - 2005
  5. ^ "National Benevolent Fund For The Aged". Early Day Motion number 878 in 2006-07, proposed by Paul Burstow. 8 February 2007. Retrieved 5 August 2011. 
  6. ^ a b "Paul Burstow". Retrieved 30 March 2013. 
  7. ^ a b Prince, Rosa (7 September 2012). "Paul Burstow criticises 'dangerous and flawed' plans to close hospitals after being sacked as a health minister". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 30 March 2013. 
  8. ^ a b "Lib Dem minister Paul Burstow 'embarrassed' over 'can't trust Cameron' comments". The Daily Telegraph. 23 December 2010. Retrieved 30 March 2013. 
  9. ^ Cecil, Nicholas (7 September 2012). "'Dangerous and flawed': sacked minister Paul Burstow's verdict on hospital cuts". Retrieved 30 March 2013. 
  10. ^ "Former Liberal Democrat MP for Sutton and Cheam, Paul Burstow, announces he will not fight election in 2020". Your local guardian. 5 November 2015. Retrieved 8 November 2015. 
  11. ^ "CLLR Mary Burstow". Retrieved 9 April 2018. 

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Olga Maitland
Member of Parliament for Sutton and Cheam
Succeeded by
Paul Scully
Party political offices
Preceded by
Andrew Stunell
Chief Whip of the Liberal Democrats
Succeeded by
Alistair Carmichael