Topic: Alan Johnson

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Alan Arthur Johnson (born 17 May 1950) is a British Labour Party politician who has been the Member of Parliament for Hull West and Hessle since 1997. Currently the Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, he served as Home Secretary from June 2009 to May 2010. Before that, he filled a wide variety of Cabinet positions in both the Blair and Brown Governments, including Health and Education Secretary. He was the first former trade union leader to serve in Cabinet since Frank Cousins in 1964.

Born in London, and orphaned at the age of 12 when his mother died, Johnson was then effectively brought up by his older sister when the two were assigned a council flat by their child welfare officer. He passed the 11 plus exam and attended Sloane Grammar School in Chelsea, now part of Pimlico Academy, and left school at the age of 15. He then stacked shelves at Tesco before becoming a postman at 18. He was interested in music and joined two pop music bands. Johnson joined the Union of Communication Workers, becoming a branch official. He joined the Labour Party in 1971, although he considered himself a Marxist ideologically aligned with the Communist Party of Great Britain. A full-time union official from 1987, he became General Secretary of the newly formed Communication Workers Union in 1993 following a series of union mergers.

Before entering Parliament Johnson was a member of Labour's National Executive Committee. During this time he was the only major union leader to support the abolition of Clause IV.

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It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Alan Johnson."