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Speaker Biography

James Purnell MP

 James Purnell MP
James was born in London on 2nd March 1970. He was educated in France, returning to study his A-levels at the Royal Grammar School, Guildford, and then going on to read Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Balliol College, Oxford.

He was a researcher to Rt. Hon. Tony Blair MP during his time as Shadow Employment Secretary, 1989-92. After graduating, he went to Hydra Associates 1992-94, and then became a Research Fellow at the Institute for Public Policy Research 1994-95 on their media and communications project.

He went on to become Head of Corporate Planning at the BBC from 1995-97. He then returned to work for the Prime Minister Tony Blair as Special Adviser on culture, media, sport and the knowledge economy from 1997-2001.

He was honoured to be selected for the seat of Stalybridge and Hyde in 2001, and went on to win the election with a majority of 8,859. As a Labour Member of Parliament, he was a member of the Work and Pensions Select Committee in the House of Commons 2001-03, and the Chair of the All Party Group on Private Equity and Venture Capital 2002-03.

In 2003 James became Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) to Rt. Hon. Ruth Kelly MP in the cabinet office, and in December 2004 he joined the Government as an Assistant Whip.

In May 2005 he became Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and this year he became Minister of State for Pensions Reform at the Department of Work and Pensions.

James lists his interests as film, music, theatre and football.