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Orphaned at 12, Alan Johnson started his working life stacking shelves at Tesco. He then became a postman and union official before rising through the New Labour ranks to hold one of the great offices of state as Home Secretary. But despite his meteoric success he does still have one regret - that his early ambition to become a pop star will never now come to fruition.
After serving as General Secretary of the Communication Workers Union, Alan entered Parliament in the Blair landslide as MP for Hull West and Hessle. He soon climbed the junior ministerial ladder, with a series of portfolios from competitiveness and employment relations to higher and further education - despite having left school at the age of 15.
In 2004 Tony Blair brought Alan into Cabinet as Secretary of State for Work & Pensions. In less than a year he was promoted to Trade & Industry and then Education & Skills, before Gordon Brown became Prime Minister and moved him across to Health. He stayed at the helm of Labour's flagship department for two years, before taking over from Jacqui Smith at the Home Office where he remained until the Coalition came to power in the 2010 General Election.
With such a wide range of government experience, Alan resonates with all manner of audiences. Aside from keynote presentations on related areas, he is also an adept and immensely engaging after dinner speaker. Along with tales of delivering the post in upmarket Buckinghamshire, he might well reveal how his last minute intervention saved the Prime Minister from rebranding the DTI. (Nobody else had spotted that the proposed name would inevitably result in it being known by a comically inappropriate acronym.)
Alan has served as a Director of Unity Trust Bank, on Labour's National Executive Committee and on the Council of the TUC and Ruskin College, Oxford. He remains an active Member of Parliament, and a leading advocate for electoral reform.
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