Alan Arthur Johnson (born 17 May 1950) is a British Labour Party politician and the Secretary of State for Health. He has been the Member of Parliament for Hull West and Hessle since 1997. In 2004 he became the first trade union leader to become a Cabinet minister since Frank Cousins in 1964.
Johnson entered the Cabinet in September 2004 as Secretary of State for Work and Pensions after the resignation of Andrew Smith. After the 2005 election he was appointed to the post of Secretary of State for Productivity, Energy and Industry as head of a department which replaced the DTI but which soon reverted to the old name. On 5 May 2006, one day after the English local elections, his brief was changed to that of Secretary of State for Education and Skills, replacing Ruth Kelly.
He became Secretary of State for Health on 28 June 2007, succeeding Patricia Hewitt. Johnson became infamous for attacking breast cancer patient Debbie Hirst because she attempted to buy the cancer drug Avastin which the NHS had denied her. Johnson told Parliament, patients “cannot, in one episode of treatment, be treated on the NHS and then allowed, as part of the same episode and the same treatment, to pay money for more drugs. That way lies the end of the founding principles of the NHS.”
Although Johnson supported many proposals from the left, he has also been criticised for supporting the reactionary right. His voting record from the Public Whip sees him voting strongly in favour of ID Cards and student top-up fess. He also voted strongly in favour of the Iraq war and Labour's anti-terror laws. Furthermore, he voted strongly against an investigation into the Iraq war.
Johnson told the BBC in an interview on November 9 2006 that he would in fact be supporting Brown and standing as deputy leader. He was successfully nominated onto the ballot paper for Labour Deputy leader with most number of nominations. On 24 June 2007, Johnson was narrowly beaten for the deputy leadership by Harriet Harman. He led in rounds 2 to 4 of the voting, until he was overtaken by Harman in the last round, eventually finishing with 49.56% of the vote.
Johnson is open about being an atheist and has categorically stated to the press that he does not believe in the existence of a God.
My Liverpool Mum Made Me the Man I Am Today; as His New Memoirs Reveal the Liverpool Family Who Shaped Him, Jade Wright Meets Alan Johnson
May 21, 2013; Byline: Alan Johnson THERE was a point in Alan Johnson's life where he had to choose between two roads. One road would take him...