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Conor Burns

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Preceded by  John Butterfill
Name  Conor Burns
Majority  12,410 (29.7%)
Role  British Politician
Nationality  British
Party  Conservative Party
Political party  Conservative

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Born  24 September 1972 (age 43) Belfast, Northern Ireland (1972-09-24)
Residence  Westbourne, Dorset, England, UK
Alma mater  University of Southampton
Education  St Columba's College, St Albans, University of Southampton
Similar People  Tobias Ellwood, Robert Syms, Jesse Norman

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Conor Burns (born 24 September 1972) is a British Conservative Party politician. He was elected as the Member of Parliament (MP) for Bournemouth West at the 2010 general election. He was Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) to Secretary of State for Northern Ireland between 2010 and 2012, before resigning from the Government due to his opposition to the Lords Reform Bill. A long-standing ally of Boris Johnson, after serving in several PPS roles, he is now PPS to the Foreign Secretary.


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Personal life

Conor Burns Gay Ulster born MP Conor Burns not for same sex marriage

Burns was born in Belfast before moving with his family to Hertfordshire in 1980. He was educated at St Columba's College, St Albans and read Modern History and Politics at the University of Southampton.

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A practising Roman Catholic, he has said he feels unable to take communion since Bishop Philip Egan, of the diocese in which Burns resides, stated that those politicians who voted for same-sex marriage, even with the caveats upon which Burns had insisted (i.e. "guarantees that ... churches would not ultimately be forced under human rights legislation to conduct such ceremonies”), should refrain from taking the sacrament.

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At Southampton he was chairman of the University's Conservative Association, 1992–93 and Chairman of Wessex Area Conservatives, 1993–94. In 1994 Burns stood unsuccessfully in the Southampton Council elections. In the run-up to the election Burns was criticised for referring to hecklers as "spastics" and calling a woman a "hunchback". He subsequently faced a students union disciplinary hearing as the vice-president of the Southampton Conservative Association.

He held a number of jobs in the communications and finance sectors, most recently as an associate director of the public affairs company PLMR. Prior to that, he was Director of the Policy Research Centre for Business Ltd; Company Secretary for DeHavilland Global Knowledge Distribution plc and Manager for Zurich Advice Network.

Political career

Burns was an elected councillor on Southampton City Council for three years from 1999, serving as the Conservative Group leader from 2001. Burns stood as the Conservative Party candidate for Eastleigh in the 2001 general election, finishing second with 34.3% of the vote. Burns was an unsuccessful candidate at the Hedge End Town Council elections, before coming second in the 2005 general election, again finishing second at Eastleigh with 37.5% of the vote, 568 votes behind Chris Huhne. Burns was a member of the A-List of candidates and was selected in September 2008. Burns was the vice-president of the Young Britons' Foundation, a conservative training and education organisation, prior to the 2010 election.

Burns was elected to the House of Commons as Member of Parliament for the safe seat of Bournemouth West in the 2010 general election with a majority of 5,583.

He was appointed as Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) to Hugo Swire, the Minister of State at the Northern Ireland Office in 2010, before which he briefly sat on the Education select committee. By 2012, he was promoted to be PPS to the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Owen Paterson. However, he resigned on 10 July 2012 to vote against the Coalition's Lords Reform Bill, of which he had been a consistent critic.

He became a close acquaintance to Margaret Thatcher in the later years of her life and spoke in the House of Commons debate on 10 April 2013 following her death.

Alongside his political career, Burns works as a consultant for Trant Engineering Ltd earning £10,000 quarterly for 10 hours work a month. He acts as a consultant for real estate developers, the Quantum Group, working 6 hours a month for a quarterly fee of £6,250.

In 2015, an article in Private Eye implied that Burns' opposition to Navitus Bay Windfarm and subsidies for renewables were due to his connections to the oil and gas industry through Trant Engineering.

In August 2017, he claimed his Twitter account was hacked after it sent a series of posts to Michel Barnier's account demanding how the UK's Brexit bill was legally calculated.

Political interests

Writing in 2008, Burns called for the international community to prepare a contingency plan for the governance of Zimbabwe after the eventual departure from office of Robert Mugabe. He was outspoken in calling on former Home Secretary Jacqui Smith to grant asylum to young gay Iranian student Mehdi Kazemi.

A strong Eurosceptic, Burns has been critical of the electoral system used to choose and rank Conservative candidates to run on lists to be Members of the European Parliament and the impact of UK Independence Party candidates in denying victory to Conservative candidates. In the 2017 election this isn't a problem for him personally as UKIP have opted not to place a candidate in his constituency due to his strong eurosceptic stance. A friend of Captain James Philippson who died in Afghanistan, Burns has been critical of the perceived failure of the Ministry of Defence to provide troops with appropriate equipment, stating that many troops "would be alive today had they had the most basic of equipment".

Although openly gay, Burns stated he needed "cast iron guarantees" that religious organisations will not be forced into conducting same sex marriages before he voted for the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013.

In 2014 he referred the charity Oxfam to the Charity Commission stating that a tweet from the charity was "overtly political". He later criticised a letter from Church of England bishops urging Christians to engage with the 2015 election as "naive" and "factually wrong".

Due to Burn's support for the Royal Family of the Middle-Eastern Kingdom of Bahrain, Burns has been labelled "the honourable member for Bahrain West" by Political Scrapbook. He is the chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Bahrain and has written articles defending the Kingdom's human rights record. He has also accepted all-expenses paid trips to the Kingdom while it was facing mass pro-democracy protests which were later repressed.


Conor Burns Wikipedia