Culture Media and Sport Minister in the United Kingdom at time of
writing (2008) is the Rt Hon James Purnell MP,
overall ministerial responsibility for Departmental strategy,
expenditure and organisation. He is supported by Rt Hon Margaret Hodge
MBE MP, and Gerry Sutcliffe MP.
an Arsenal fan, he likes house music and he's only 39. This, no doubt,
is one of the reasons why he and a number of other MPs are at Central
Hall in Westminster
today to engage in "speed-dating" with some future voters.
Purnell was appointed Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport
in June 2007, as part of Gordon
Brown's first Cabinet. Prior to this, he was Minister of State for
Pensions Reform at the Department of Work and Pensions.
he had been Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department
for Culture, Media and Sport since May 2005, and, before this,
Parliamentary Private Secretary to Ruth Kelly MP in the Cabinet
Office. He joined the Government as Assistant Whip in December 2004.
entering Parliament in 2001, he was Head of Corporate Planning at the
BBC (1995-1997) and then worked as a special adviser on culture,
media, sport and the knowledge economy for the then Prime Minister
Tony Blair, from 1997 to 2001.
Mark Dakin Purnell (born 2 March 1970, London) is a British
politician. He was appointed Secretary of State for Culture, Media and
Sport on 28th June 2007. He has been the Labour MP for Stalybridge and
Hyde since the 2001 general election. He received most of his
education in France, returning to study his A Levels at the Royal
Grammar School, and going on to gain a first in PPE at Balliol
College, Oxford. His partner is filmmaker Lucy Walker.
While still a student he worked in the summer holidays as a researcher
to Tony Blair from 1989 to 1992. After graduating he worked as a
Research Fellow at the Institute for Public Policy Research before
moving to the BBC to
become Head of Corporate Planning. In 1997 Purnell returned to work as
a special advisor for the now Prime Minister Tony Blair until 2001. He
also served as a board member of the Young Vic theatre.
Purnell was selected for the seat of Stalybridge and Hyde in 2001, and
went on to win the election with a majority of 8,859. As a Labour
Member of Parliament, he was a member of the Work and Pensions Select
Committee in the House of Commons 2001-03, the Chair of the All Party
Group on Private Equity and Venture Capital 2002-03, and the Chair of
Labour Friends of Israel
In 2003 James became Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) to Ruth
Kelly in the Cabinet Office, and in December 2004 he joined the
Government as a Whip in the government changes following the
resignation of David Blunkett.
Following the Labour General Election victory in 2005, he was
appointed to the position of Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State
for Creative Industries and Tourism in the Department for Culture,
Media and Sport where he was in charge of seeing through the
legislation that liberalised England and Wales'
alcohol licensing laws and modernized film industry tax breaks.
In May 2006 he was promoted to be Minister of State for Pensions in
the Department for Work and Pensions, replacing Stephen Timms.
In 2007 he was named Consumer Champion Of The Year by Which?
Magazine for his work on pensions. Which? Magazine cited his
"commitment to consumers in the development of the national
pensions saving scheme", particularly for listening to
stakeholders and for his contributions to the personal accounts for
low and middle earners.
In June 2007, he was promoted to the Cabinet as the Secretary of State
for Culture, Media and Sport.
He is the youngest member of the current Cabinet.
Like Lord Pendry, James Purnell supports the controversial
Mottram-Tintwistle or Longdendale Bypass.
In 1996 Purnell was one of three Islington councillors who were sued
for libel by fellow Labour councillor Liz Davies. Davies had
previously been selected as the Labour Party prospective parliamentary
candidate for Leeds North East, but the selection had been vetoed by
the party's National Executive Committee. Part of the evidence to the
NEC had centred around Davies' willingness to abide by the Labour Whip
in Parliament, with reference to her time as a member of the Labour
group in Islington. Liz Davies claimed that, in their evidence before
the NEC, the three councillors had claimed she incited violence during
a committee meeting. This led to an out-of-court settlement, under
which the three apologised for the allegations they had made and made
contributions to the general election campaign of the local MP, Jeremy
Prior to becoming a cabinet minister, Purnell has repeatedly been one
of the most expensive MP's in the United Kingdom and being confirmed
as the most expensive in Greater Manchester, with expenses in 2004 of
more than £120,000.
Paul Diggett, one of James Purnell's political researchers was
convicted in January 2004 of downloading child pornography from
Purnell's PC, without the MP's knowledge. Diggett was Labour's
candidate for Cheadle in 1997, and was suspended from the party
following his arrest.
In September 2007, a photograph of James Purnell was faked and
released by the press office at Tameside General hospital as part of a
press release for the Tameside Hospital Private Finance Initiative (PFI)
rebuilding deal. The Tameside Trust claimed that Purnell agreed to the
amalgamation of the two photographs, as he was late for the original
photo call, but Purnell denied this. Another Labour
MP, Tom Levitt, present for the photoshoot stated that he and other
Labour MPs deliberately left a gap for Purnell when the original
photograph was taken, knowing that Purnell's image would be
superimposed onto their photograph. Critics described the
photograph as being "misleading"; it was especially damaging
as it came at a time when Purnell has criticised the media for
misleading the public over telephone phone-in scams and over news
stories that were not true.
column, The Guardian,
Prospect, February 2005
Labour Left Briefing, July 1996
defend £120k expenses
shame of ex-Labour politician
trust faked MP visit picture
'optimistic' on TV's future
Chris; Laura Donnelly. "Labour
MPs admit plan to fake Purnell photo", column, The
Daily Telegraph, 2007-10-01. Retrieved on 2007-10-02. "James
Purnell, the Culture Secretary, came under increasing pressure
over a fake photo last night, after two Labour MPs revealed they
planned in advance for it be altered."
for Work and Pensions - James Purnell's Pensions Reform blog
Guardian - Purnell's
Unlimited Politics - Ask Aristotle: James Purnell MP
- James Purnell MP
Mail column referencing and confirming article on Newsnight affair
your expectations for a safer future
alu Earth Can .......
The World in Your Hands