Richard Burgon

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Richard Burgon

Richard Burgon.jpg
Official Parliamentary portrait, June 2017
Shadow Secretary of State for Justice
Shadow Lord Chancellor
Assumed office
27 June 2016
LeaderJeremy Corbyn
ShadowingMichael Gove
Elizabeth Truss
David Lidington
David Gauke
Preceded byThe Lord Falconer of Thoroton
Shadow Economic Secretary to the Treasury
Shadow City Minister
In office
16 September 2015 – 27 June 2016
ShadowingHarriet Baldwin
Simon Kirby
Preceded byCathy Jamieson
Succeeded byJonathan Reynolds
Member of Parliament
for Leeds East
Assumed office
7 May 2015
Preceded byGeorge Mudie
Majority12,752 (30.8%)
Personal details
Born (1980-09-19) 19 September 1980 (age 38)
Leeds, England
Political partyLabour
Alma materSt John's College, Cambridge
WebsiteOfficial website

Richard Burgon MP (born 19 September 1980) is a British Labour Party politician and the Member of Parliament (MP) for Leeds East. He is also the Shadow Secretary of State for Justice and Shadow Lord Chancellor.

Burgon studied English Literature at St John's College, Cambridge, where he was chair of Cambridge University Labour Club. After working as a trade union lawyer, he was elected as the MP for Leeds East at the 2015 general election. He was appointed as Shadow Economic Secretary to the Treasury (City Minister) in September 2015 by new Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. Burgon was promoted to Shadow Justice Secretary in June 2016 following the organised mass resignations in protest against the leadership of Corbyn.

Early life and education[edit]

Burgon was educated at Cardinal Heenan Roman Catholic High School in Leeds. As this school did not have a sixth form, he moved onto St Aidan's and St John Fisher Associated Sixth Form in Harrogate[1] to complete his A Levels. He then studied English Literature at St John's College, Cambridge. He was chair of Cambridge University Labour Club.[2]

He is the nephew of the former Labour MP Colin Burgon,[2] and stood at the age of 23 as one of the Labour candidates for the Wetherby ward on Leeds City Council in 2004. He is a fan of heavy metal music.[3]


Burgon qualified as a solicitor in 2006,[4] and was a trade union lawyer before being elected as the MP for Leeds East at the 2015 general election.[5][6]

Standing on the floor of the House of Commons in May 2015 he prefaced his mandatory oath of allegiance to Elizabeth II by expressing his support for constitutional change for an elected head of state: "As someone that believes that the head of state should be elected I make this oath in order to serve my constituents".[7]

He was one of 36 Labour MPs to nominate Jeremy Corbyn as a candidate in the Labour leadership election of 2015.[8] Corbyn appointed him as shadow Economic Secretary to the Treasury.

In an October 2015 Channel 4 News interview, Burgon admitted that despite being Shadow Economic Secretary[9] to the Treasury for over a month he was still yet to meet anyone from the city of London's finance and banking industry, nor could he predict the UK budget deficit for 2015.[10][11] Burgon was promoted to Shadow Justice Secretary on 27 June 2016 following following the organised mass resignations in protest against the leadership of Corbyn.[12] In September 2017, the political commentator Iain Dale listed Burgon at Number 86 in 'The 100 Most Influential People on the Left', writing: "Described by some as Jeremy Corbyn’s ‘Comical Ali’ Burgon is certainly a true believer."[13]

Burgon is secretary of the GMB Parliamentary Group. In this lobbying role for the GMB he helps to make sure issues that matter to GMB members are raised in the House of Commons.


Burgon is regarded as being on the left within the Labour Party[14] and has taken part in People's Assembly Against Austerity protests.[15] He has opposed military intervention and the bombing of Syria following the November 2015 Paris attacks by ISIS militants.[16]

Burgon believes cuts to legal aid are a false economy and deny people justice. Burgon said, "A lack of early legal advice can create unnecessary costs for the taxpayer as legal problems go to court when they could have been resolved earlier or spiral into costly social problems as people lose their homes or jobs. These figures highlight the grim reality of a justice system in crisis. These legal aid cuts have deliberately weakened people's ability to challenge injustices and enforce their rights."[17]

Burgon appeared on the BBC's Daily Politics show in March 2018 and was asked by Andrew Neil about alleged claims that he had said at a 2016 Labour Party meeting "Zionism is the enemy of peace". Burgon responded "No and that was not my view" and "I didn't make those comments". Footage surfaced in April 2019 of Burgon speaking at an event in 2014 where he was recorded saying "Zionism is the enemy of peace", which led to accusations that he lied when he denied that this was a view he held.[18][19]

Libel case[edit]

On 6 February 2019, Burgon won a libel case against The Sun newspaper after it falsely claimed that he 'delighted' in Nazi imagery.[20] Burgon was awarded damages of £30,000, which he said would be spent supporting an apprenticeship in Leeds.[21]


  1. ^ "March 2016 Newsletter" (PDF). St John Fisher School. Retrieved 16 September 2016.
  2. ^ a b Pickard, Jim (16 May 2016). "Jeremy Corbyn's reluctant man in the City -". Financial Times. Retrieved 27 June 2016.
  3. ^ "We Interviewed the Biggest Metalhead in British Politics". 13 July 2017. Retrieved 12 January 2019.
  4. ^ "Richard Burgon - The Law Society". Find a Solicitor. The Law Society. Retrieved 7 July 2017.
  5. ^ Simmons, Richard, Meet the lawyers standing for Parliament, Lawyer 2B, 10 April 2015
  6. ^ "Parliamentary General Election results [Leeds East, 2015]". Leeds City Council. Retrieved 8 May 2015.
  7. ^ "Labour MP Richard Burgon Calls For End Of Monarchy Before Swearing Allegiance To The Queen". The Huffington Post UK. Retrieved 20 May 2015.
  8. ^ Bright, Sam (15 June 2015). "Who nominated who for the 2015 Labour leadership election?". Retrieved 19 July 2016.
  9. ^ "Economic Secretary to the Treasury - GOV.UK".
  10. ^ Newman, Cathy. "Why I went full throttle in my own car-crash interview". The Telegraph. Retrieved 10 December 2015.
  11. ^ Bartlett, Evan. "Labour MP endures four excruciating minutes in painful Channel 4 interview". The Independent. Retrieved 14 December 2015.
  12. ^ "Who's staying and who's going in the shadow cabinet?". BBC. 27 June 2016. Retrieved 28 June 2016.
  13. ^ Dale, Iain (25 September 2017). "The 100 Most Influential People On The Left: Iain Dale's 2017 List". LBC. Retrieved 31 October 2017.
  14. ^ "Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition". The Socialist. 10 June 2015. Retrieved 6 February 2019.
  15. ^ Ahmed, Faiza (25 November 2015). "Wrotests held against UK Chancellor's spending cuts". Press TV.
  16. ^ Burgon, Richard (30 November 2015). "Bombing Syria Is Not the Right Thing for the Country, the Wider Region or for Britain". HuffPost. Retrieved 1 December 2015.
  17. ^ Gilbert, Dominic (10 December 2018). "Legal aid advice network 'decimated' by funding cuts". BBC News.
  18. ^ "Labour MP Richard Burgon in row over Zionism comments". BBC News. 16 April 2019.
  19. ^ York, Chris (16 April 2019). "Richard Burgon Claimed He Never Said 'Zionism Is The Enemy Of Peace' - This Video Shows He Did". HuffPost.
  20. ^ Waterson, Jim (6 February 2019). "Labour MP Richard Burgon wins 'Nazi' libel case against Sun". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 6 February 2019.
  21. ^ Waterson, Jim (6 February 2019). "Labour MP Richard Burgon wins 'Nazi' libel case against Sun". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 7 February 2019.

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
George Mudie
Member of Parliament
for Leeds East

Political offices
Preceded by
The Lord Falconer of Thoroton
Shadow Secretary of State for Justice
Shadow Lord Chancellor