Liam is MP for Birmingham Hodge Hill, Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, and Coordinator of Labour’s policy review. A passionate advocate of community organising, he founded Local Action Network to spread the community approach pioneered in Hodge Hill which helped Liam double his majority in the 2010 general election.
Educated at an Essex comprehensive school – Burnt Mill in Harlow – Liam graduated at the top of his class with a prize-winning First at Manchester University, and was a Fulbright scholar at the Harvard Business School where he took his MBA with honours. Before entering politics, Liam co-founded the successful eCommerce business egsgroup.com, now a Top 100 European private technology company. Previously he worked as a banker with NM Rothschilds, and a strategy advisor with Accenture.
Liam was elected in a tight by-election in 2004 and was made a health minister 9 months later. He introduced the pioneering individual budgets, and was nominated as Older Peoples’ Champion of the Year by Help the Aged for his work.
He was promoted to Minister of State for Police and Counter-Terrorism in May 2006 before the Home Secretary asked him to lead the re-organisation of the immigration system and the Home Office. As immigration minister, he created the UK Border Agency and led the biggest overhaul of Britain’s border controls since the second world war. His work earned him the Spectator magazine’s Minister to Watch award in 2007 and a place on the House magazine’s shortlist for Minister of the Year in 2008.
On becoming Prime Minister, Gordon Brown asked Liam to take on the additional role of Minister for the West Midlands, where he sealed the deal for a new £400 million New Street station. He was then asked to join the Cabinet as Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, responsible for the co-ordination of policy across Government, based at No 10 Downing Street. He oversaw the development of the Government’s Real Help Now campaign to combat the recession, the New Opportunities White Paper designed to boost social mobility and created the Council of Regional Ministers, which he chaired.
In 2009, Liam was promoted again to become Chief Secretary to the Treasury, where he negotiated Labour’s deficit reduction plan across Whitehall, set out in the 2009 Pre-Budget Report 09 and Budget 2010. He led the renewal of Labour’s strategy for public service reform set out in Putting the Frontline First: Smarter Government, Power in People’s Hands: World Class Public Services, and Working Together: Public Services On Your Side.
After Labour lost the 2010 election, Liam was elected to the shadow cabinet, and asked by Ed Miliband to coordinate Labour’s policy review. In January 2011 he was appointed Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions.
Liam is a member of the board of Policy Network, the international centre-left think-tank, and a strong advocate of closer UK relations with China. He is a member of the UK-China Leadership Forum, was delegation leader in 2009, and helped found the UK-China Young Leaders Roundtable in 2010.
Liam has written widely about the squeezed middle, public service reform, economic development, and shared values. His publications include the textbook, Local Government Transformed (1996), Information Age Government (1998), Cities of Enterprise (2002), Britain in 2020 (2003), Reinventing Government Again (with Phil Collins) (2004), Why Labour Won (2005), A Common Place (2007), A More United Kingdom (Demos, 2008) and Why Did Labour Lose – and How Do We Win Again (2010).
Although born in Warrington, Liam’s family has been in Birmingham for around 200 years (family history here). He joined the Labour Party when he was 15 and today lives in Birmingham with his wife Sarah and three children, Alex (11), John (9) and Elizabeth (7), and the family puppy, Soda.
He is a member of Unite, and the Fabian Society. He co-founded the Young Fabian magazine, Anticipations, was one of Progress’ first editors, was founding treasurer of the Centre for European Reform, and is a former Associate Fellow of the Social Market Foundation. His interests include China, Kashmir and Pakistan.
Outside politics, Liam’s is a keen runner – he has run six half-marathons (best time 1:54.50 minutes), and his interests include surfing, English church architecture, and astronomy. He is a founder member of the King’s Heath Running Club.