Liam Byrne

Liam Byrne

Infobox Politician
honorific-prefix =Rt. Hon.
name = Liam Byrne
honorific-suffix = MP

caption =
office = Minister for the Cabinet Office and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
term_start = 3 October 2008
term_end =
primeminister= Gordon Brown
predecessor = Ed Miliband
successor =
office2 = Minister of State for Borders and Immigration
term_start2 = 22 May 2006
term_end2 = 3 October 2008
primeminister2 = Gordon Brown Tony Blair
predecessor2 = Tony McNulty
successor2 = Phil Woolas
constituency_MP3 = Birmingham Hodge Hill
parliament3 =
majority3 = 5,449 (19.2%)
predecessor3 = Terry Davis
successor3 = Incumbent
term_start3 = 15 July 2004
term_end3 =
party = Labour
birth_date =Birth date and age|1970|10|2|df=y
birth_place = Warrington, Cheshire
death_date =
death_place =
residence =
salary =
alma_mater=Harvard Business School, University of Manchester
religion =
majority =
spouse = Sarah Byrne
children =
website = []
footnotes =

Liam Dominic Byrne (born 2 October 1970) is a British Labour Party politician. He is the Member of Parliament for Birmingham Hodge Hill and was the former Minister of State for Borders and Immigration; and Minister for the West Midlands. After the Brown reshuffle of 3 October 2008, Byrne was promoted to the post of Minister for the Cabinet Office and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster replacing Ed Miliband who was promoted to the new post of Energy and Climate Change Secretary. It was announced three days later that Byrne would be appointed to the Privy Council.

Early life

Liam Byrne was born in Warrington. He went to Burnt Mill School in Harlow and studied [ Politics] and [ Modern History] (1st) at the University of Manchester, becoming Communications Officer of the University of Manchester Union. He holds an MBA from the Harvard Business School where he was a Fulbright Scholar. He has acted as an advisor to Tony Blair. He is founder of the computer company e-Government Solutions Ltd, a provider of e-commerce solutions to government, and is an associate research fellow at the Social Market Foundation.Before working in Parliament, he worked for the multi-national consulting firm, Accenture and merchant bankers, N M Rothschild & Sons, before co-founding a venture backed technology company, eGS Group, in 2000. Between 1996 and 1997 he advised the Labour Party on the re-organisation of Millbank, and helped lead Labour’s business campaign.

Parliamentary career

He was selected to contest the Birmingham Hodge Hill by-election following the resignation of the veteran Labour MP Terry Davis to become the Secretary General of the Council of Europe. After a very close contest, on 15 July 2004, the same day as Labour lost Leicester South in another by-election, Byrne held on with a majority of just 460. He made his maiden speech on 22 July 2004 cite web
year = 2004
url =
title = Debates for 22 July 2004 - 2:23pm
publisher = Hansard
accessdate = July 22
accessyear = 2004

Following his re-election with an increased majority on 5 May 2005, he was appointed Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department of Health, an unusually fast promotion to ministerial rank. Just a year later, following the 2006 local elections, he was promoted to Minister of State for policing, security and community safety at the Home Office, replacing Hazel Blears, one of the highest-profile roles in the government outside the cabinet. However, just a fortnight later Home Secretary John Reid moved him to the immigration role, switching portfolios with Tony McNulty. McNulty had been connected with the foreign prisoners scandal that caused Tony Blair to sack Charles Clarke in May 2006. Byrne's move was seen as an attempt by Reid to establish an entirely new team to sort out the immigration system.

The Muslim veil

Concerning the debate about the immigration of women wearing veils, on 26 October 2006 he stated that in accordance with the Immigration Act 1971 all persons arriving in the United Kingdom must satisfy an immigration officer as to their nationality and identity. Where there are sensitive or cultural reasons why it is not possible for a person to remove a veil or other garment at the immigration control, they will be taken to a private area where, in the case of a woman, a female officer will ask them to lift their veil so that their identity can be verified. Most people are usually content to do this but there are powers to refuse entry to persons who cannot be satisfactorily identified.cite web
year = 2006
url =
title = Immigration staff can ask Muslim women to remove veils
publisher =
accessdate = October 26
accessyear = 2006

Immigration/Taxi Driver Controversy

In November 2006 Byrne was responsible for a change to the UK's immigration rules preventing migrants who had entered under the UK's Highly Skilled Migrant Programme (HSMP) having their permission to remain in the UK extended unless they could show both that they had been earning at least £32000 pa while in the UK and that they had a good knowledge of English. This change was controversial because it applies retrospectively to immigrants who had entered the UK under the old rules, meaning the UK Government had "moved the goalposts" - a degree is effectively now an essential requirement, regardless of the skills or economic contribution that an individual can demonstrate [ [ Comment is free: Moving the goalposts mid-game ] ] [ [ Rule change ‘cheats’ skilled migrant workers - Times Online ] ] . .In their report into the changes, the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights said that "The changes to the Rules are so clearly incompatible with Article 8, and so contrary to basic notions of fairness, that the case for immediately revisiting the changes to the Rules in Parliament is in our view overwhelming" [ [ Joint Committee On Human Rights - Twentieth Report ] ] . Appeal cases have been won on appeal on the grounds that applicants had a legitimate expectation that the rules would not change to their detriment [ [ UK tribunal sides with HSMP visa holder denied extension under new rules ] ] . A judicial review has been successfully brought against the government, with their actions when applying the new HSMP rules to those HSMP holders already in the UK as at 7th November 2006 being ruled as unlawful [ [ HSMP Forum Ltd, R (on the application of) v Secretary of State for the Home Department ] ] .

Byrne is in-favour of legislation for a "Migration Act" similar to the 1958 immigration law in Australia which is administered by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC).

In 2007, Byrne was criticized by London's cab drivers for his remarks that they were "low-skilled". This ignored the fact that the cabbies study the details of London's streets for an average of eighteen months before becoming licensed. []

Road Safety

As well as his role in the Home Office, Byrne has been a vocal campaigner for road safety and has handed in a petition in to Parliament in 2005 demanding tougher punishments for dangerous drivers.

He sat on the parliamentary committee which shaped the 2006 Road Safety Act, which increased fixed penalty fines for driving while using a mobile. On 2 November 2007 he himself was fined £100 and received a fixed penalty notice for using his own mobile telephone while driving. [ [ BBC NEWS | Politics | Byrne fined over car mobile use ] ]

"British Day"

In June 2008, Byrne suggested the "August bank holiday" to be made a weekend of national celebration (the so-called "British Day") in a speech to a New Labour think tank. However, Scotland's August bank holiday is at the beginning of the month. He later retracted this - after pressure from the Scottish National Party - saying he was merely trying to "get the debate started". [ [ BBC News | Politics | Minister in 'British Day blunder'] ]

Cabinet Reshuffle

In a cabinet reshuffle on 3 October 2008 he was promoted to Minister for the Cabinet Office. [cite web | title=Government reshuffle: Profile: Liam Byrne | | url= | accessdate=2008-10-03]

Personal life

He married in June 1998. He and his wife, Sarah, reside in Birmingham, having previously lived in Hertfordshire. They have three children.


External links

* [ Liam Byrne] official site
* [ Home Office]
* [ Minister for the West Midlands]
* [ EGS]
* [,9290,-8494,00.html Guardian Unlimited Politics - Ask Aristotle: Liam Byrne MP]
* [,_hodge_hill - Liam Byrne MP]
* [ The Public Whip - Liam Byrne MP] voting record
* [ BBC Politics page]

News items

* [ Profile November 2007]
* [ Politics Show July 2007]

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