Andrew Murray Burnham (born 7th January 1970) is a British Labour politician who has been serving as the Mayor of Greater Manchester since May 2017. He was previously the Member of Parliament (MP) for Leigh from 2001 to 2017.
Born in the Old Roan area of Aintree, Lancashire, Burnham was educated at comprehensive schools and graduated with a degree in English from Fitzwilliam College at the University of Cambridge. He worked as a researcher for Tessa Jowell from 1994 to 1997, then working for the NHS Confederation in 1997 and as an administrator for the Football Task Force in 1998. The same year, he became a special adviser to the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Chris Smith, a position he held until 2001.
After the retirement of Lawrence Cunliffe, the Labour MP for Leigh, Burnham was elected to succeed him in 2001. He was a member of the Health Select Committee from 2001 until 2003, then serving as Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) to Home Secretary David Blunkett until 2004, when he became PPS to Education Secretary Ruth Kelly. He was promoted to serve in the Government after the 2005 election as a Parliamentary Under Secretary of State in the Home Office. In 2006, Burnham was moved to become a Minister of State at the Department of Health.
When Gordon Brown became Prime Minister in 2007, Burnham was promoted to Chief Secretary to the Treasury, a position he held until 2008, when he became Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport. In 2009, he was promoted again to become Secretary of State for Health. In that role, he opposed further privatisation of National Health Service services and launched an independent inquiry into the Stafford Hospital scandal. After the Labour Party's defeat in the 2010 general election, Burnham was a candidate in the 2010 Labour leadership election, coming fourth out of five candidates. The contest was won by Ed Miliband. Burnham served as Shadow Secretary of State for Health until late 2010, when he was moved by Miliband to become Shadow Secretary of State for Education. He held that role for a year, then returning to the role of Shadow Secretary of State for Health.
After the 2015 general election, in which Labour lost to the Conservative Party, Miliband resigned as leader. Burnham launched his campaign to succeed Miliband in the resulting September 2015 leadership election. He finished a distant second behind Jeremy Corbyn. Following the defeat, he accepted a role in Corbyn's Shadow Cabinet as Shadow Home Secretary. In May 2016 Burnham announced his candidacy to become Labour's candidate for the Greater Manchester Mayoralty and was selected in August 2016. He resigned as Shadow Home Secretary in October 2016. The mayoral election was held in May 2017 and the declaration of the June 2017 general election during the local campaign led him to stand down as an MP.
On 5 May 2016, a spokesperson for Burnham confirmed that he had been approached by party officials in Greater Manchester, asking him to consider resigning from the Shadow Cabinet of Jeremy Corbyn in order to run in the upcoming mayoral election in 2017.
On 18 May 2016, he confirmed that he was running for Mayor. Burnham was selected as the Labour candidate in August 2016. In September 2016, Burnham said that he would resign as Shadow Home Secretary once a replacement had been found, in order to concentrate on his mayoral bid. He was succeeded by Diane Abbott in October. Burnham said, if elected as Greater Manchester's mayor, he would resign his seat as the member of parliament for Leigh. However, the 2017 general election was declared a fortnight before the mayoral election; Burnham did not stand as a candidate.
Burnham was elected to the new role of Mayor of Greater Manchester on 5 May 2017. He received 63% of the vote, winning majorities in all ten of Greater Manchester's boroughs.
Burnham responded to the Manchester Arena bombing on 23 May 2017, calling it an "evil act", while praising the "best immediate response" of local people, and thanking the emergency services. He later announced a vigil to be held in Manchester's Albert Square the following evening.