After serving as General Secretary of the Communication Workers Union, Alan entered Parliament in the 1997 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.
Seven years after entering parliament Alan was brought into Cabinet as Secretary of State for Work and Pensions. In less than a year he was promoted to Trade and Industry and then Education and Skills, before Gordon Brown became Prime Minister and moved him 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 for the rest of the Labour term of office.
Alan has served as a Director of Unity Trust Bank, on Labour’s National Executive Committee and on the Council of the TUC and of Ruskin College, Oxford. After 20 years as an MP, Alan stepped down from Parliamentary life, but remains an active voice in Labour politics, and on Brexit and electoral reform. He is a regular in the media, often appearing on the This Week sofa and even fronting his own programme on Radio 4, Alan Johnson: Failed Rock Star. His moving, entertaining and passionate memoir This Boy won the prestigious Orwell Prize for non-fiction, and its sequels Please, Mr Postman and The Long and Winding Road were equally acclaimed.