Laurence Turner: a new start for Birmingham Northfield


A new candidate will be standing for Labour in my home constituency of Birmingham Northfield on 4th July. His name is Laurence Turner and he has my support as someone who lives here and who represented the area in Parliament for twenty-seven years.

Selfie of Richard Burden and Laurence Turner
Me and Laurence

My backing for Laurence is, of course, tinged with sadness. My last blog post on here welcomed the prospect of my good friend, Alex Aitken, winning the seat for Labour at the forthcoming general election. Since then, however, Alex has stood down as Labour candidate for personal reasons.

Alex would have made a great MP for this area and I hope he will still make a big contribution to British politics in years to come. But right now, his personal welfare must understandably come first and I wish him well.

I am impressed by the work Laurence is already putting in and by the approach he has promised to take if elected as MP for Birmingham Northfield on 4th July. His family background is in Birmingham and he has committed to living and raising his young family here. He tells me that he is determined to be Northfield’s voice in Westminster, not the other way around.

To me that is so important. As an MP, I was always explicitly Labour but I also tried to approach the job in a way that went beyond party politics. I tried both to remain true to the principles on which I stood for election and to be an independently-minded advocate for the communities I represented right across the Northfield area. That is why it has saddened me to see my home constituency represented in recent years by a Member of Parliament who has so often behaved as the Northfield mouthpiece for whichever Conservative Prime Minister has been in Downing Street at the time.

I want to see all that change and Laurence Turner has my support to be the change that Northfield needs.

When I was a Shadow Minister, I worked closely with Laurence on Labour’s transport policy. We called on Tory ministers to sort out the chaos they had created in bus services up and down the country. We urged investment in a modernised and greener motor industry to bring jobs to the Midlands. We helped draw up plans for a rail system that works for passengers and which is back under public ownership where it belongs.

Laurence and I campaigned together for all these things when Labour was in opposition. To make them happen in practice, though, we need a Labour Government. And getting that government will need constituencies like Birmingham Northfield to elect Labour MPs on 4th July.

So, for all these reasons and more, if you live in Birmingham Northfield Parliamentary constituency, please join me in voting for Laurence Turner on July 4th.

PS There are also local council by-elections happening in two of the wards in Birmingham Northfield on 4th July. Please remember to vote in those too and back Carmel Corrigan in Kings Norton North ward and Esther Rai in Northfield ward.

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Richard Burden

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I was Labour Member of Parliament for Birmingham Northfield between 1992 and 2019 and a former Shadow Transport Minister. I now chair Healthwatch in Birmingham and Solihull, and the West Midlands Board of Remembering Srebrenica. I also work as a public affairs consultant. I am an effective community advocate and stakeholder alliance builder with a passion for human rights. I am a trustee of the Balfour Project charity and of Citizens Advice Birmingham, and a former Chair of Medical Aid for Palestinians.

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