Paul Burstow


Paul Burstow was re-elected MP for Sutton and Cheam in May 2010 with a majority of 1,608 votes.

Paul Burstow, MP for Sutton and Cheam since 1997, was appointed as a minister of state at the Department of Health after the formation of the coalition in 2010. He was elected Liberal Democrat Chief Whip in the House of Commons by his colleagues in March 2006.

Paul was born in May 1962 at St Helier Hospital, Carshalton, and comes from a family of tailors and seamstresses. His father is a Savile Row tailor. Paul was educated at Glastonbury High School for Boys, Carshalton, and the South Bank Polytechnic (now South Bank University) in London.

Paul first stood as Liberal Democrat candidate for Sutton and Cheam in 1992, when he achieved the biggest swing to the Liberal Democrats in Greater London. Prior to his success in winning the seat in 1997, Paul headed the Liberal Democrats' local government unit (the Association of Liberal Democrat Councillors), having already been one of the principal architects of the Liberal Democrats' capture of Sutton borough council from the Conservatives in 1986. Paul led Sutton's pioneering work on "green" environmental issues, which won the borough a reputation both nationally and internationally as a pioneer in recycling and energy conservation.

On election to Parliament Paul became a junior frontbench spokesman on local government and within a few months Paddy Ashdown appointed him to lead the party's local government team in the Commons. Since 1991 when he was appointed to chair Sutton Council's disability forum Paul has taken a special interest in disability issues. He set up Sutton's comprehensive disability policy, and in parliament has been active as co-chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Ageing and Older People, vice-chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Disability, vice-chair of the All Party Parliamentary Groups on multiple sclerosis and ME, and chair of the All Party Primary Care and Public Health Group.

In 1999 Charles Kennedy offered him the job of speaking for older people, and after the 2001 General Election invited him to join the Shadow Cabinet with the same brief covering issues affecting the elderly and vulnerable in the responsibilities of several government departments. In 2003 Paul was promoted to be Shadow Health Secretary and between July 2005 and March 2006 he was Shadow Minister for London. He was agent for Sir Menzies Campbell's successful party leadership campaign in early 2006.

An active supporter of the NSPCC campaigns for a Children's Commissioner for England and the removal of the defence of reasonable chastisement, Paul was invited by the NSPCC in 2001 to become one of their Parliamentary Ambassadors. He was instrumental in getting the Liberal Democrats to adopt reform of the law on physical punishment of children as party policy in 2003.

Paul and his wife Mary have three children, and Paul's relaxations are cooking, reading and working out in the gym.

Education: Glastonbury High School for Boys, Carshalton; South Bank Polytechnic, London

Experience: Political Secretary for ALDC 1996-97; buyer for Allied Shoe Repairs; worked for a Printing Company in Chiswick; Organising Secretary for the Association of Social Democrat Councillors 1986

Council experience: Elected to Sutton Council 1986

Parliamentary experience: 2006- Chief Whip; 2005-6 spokesperson for London; 2005- Health Select Committee; 2003-05 Shadow Health Secretary; 1997-03 spokesman for Older People (including long-term personal care).

Interests: Cooking, reading and walking


Sutton and Cheam



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Date of Birth

13 May 1962



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