Andy Burnham: The Mr Nice Guy who talked his way into a nasty situation
Friday 20 June 2008
Andy Burnham, 38, was known as the "Mr Nice Guy" of the Cabinet until the outcry over his comments about Shami Chakrabarti and David Davis.
One of the Government's rising stars, Mr Burnham was seen as a potential leadership contender after Gordon Brown steps down.
The "smear" allegations are widely regarded by MPs as out of character. One of his close friends said: "He's got this remarkable knack of not making enemies. We all make enemies, but not Andy."
A former minister said he had a reputation around Whitehall for being late. "He is late for everything, if he ever became Chancellor he'd be known as the Late Chancellor."
Cambridge educated with working-class Catholic roots, he was regarded as a Blairite moderniser but quickly won the trust of Mr Brown. He was moved by Mr Brown from the Treasury to the plum job of Culture Secretary in a reshuffle caused by the departure of Peter Hain in January.
Mr Burnham was a special adviser to Chris Smith when he was Culture Secretary and said it was his "dream job".
A lifelong Everton fan, he was judged to be a sports fan with the common touch who would feel at home running the department covering media, sport and the arts.
His Liverpool background gave him an advantage in celebrating the city's year of culture and he was praised for maintaining his love of football after securing a seat in the rugby-mad town of Leigh.
He took up the controversial cause of fluoridation for the West Lancashire water supply to cut dental decay when he entered Parliament, and later became parliamentary private secretary to David Blunkett.
He shared Mr Blunkett's no-nonsense approach to crime, and joked that he had been nicknamed "Burnham and Floggem". Mr Burnham was regarded as a breath of fresh air in the Government. His wife, Frankie van Heel, once appeared on Blind Date with Cilla Black, and he plays bass in the parliamentary rock band, MP4.
His friends are speculating on the reason behind his remarks in the Blairite Progress magazine. Few believe it was merely a gaffe, but think it could have been part of a carefully managed campaign designed to shatter support for David Davis's stand in a by-election that backfired disastrously.
That could explain why the normally affable Mr Burnham is said to be "absolutely furious" at being caught up in the row.
Easter egg hunt horror as mother finds dead body under deck of house
Missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370: Wreckage could be found within a week as search reaches 'very critical juncture', says minister
The new people’s republic of east Ukraine
Loch Ness Monster found on Apple Maps?
Royal Tour 2014: Is the Duchess of Cambridge the only person ever to climb into a fighter jet wearing a dress and high heels?
The food poverty scandal that shames Britain: Nearly 1m people rely on handouts to eat – and benefit reforms may be to blame
Scottish independence: It is the English who should be on their knees, begging the Scots to vote ‘No’
Nigel Farage fatigue? Half of voters ‘immune’ to Ukip’s appeal
'Sinful': Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy comes under attack
Nigel Farage: I’m taking on the status quo, and the Establishment’s fighting back
Refugee facing deportation from Sweden saved by fellow passengers refusing to let plane leave
- 1 Easter egg hunt horror as mother finds dead body under deck of house
- 2 'Natural' energy drink banned for containing erectile dysfunction drug
- 3 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
- 4 Loch Ness Monster found on Apple Maps?
- 5 Kingdom Tower: Construction of 1km high new world’s tallest building to begin next week in Saudi Arabia
£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is a company that specializ...
£153.75 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is an innovative outsourcin...
£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company has been providing on site ...
£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: We've been supplying best of breed peopl...