16 Facts About Tom Burlison


Tom Burlison was the first professional footballer to take a seat in the House of Lords.

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Tom Burlison was born in Edmondsley, County Durham, the son of a miner, Robert Tom Burlison, and his wife, Georgina.

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Tom Burlison was educated in Edmondsley and worked as a panel beater from 1951 to 1957, joining the General and Municipal Workers' Union.

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Tom Burlison was a professional footballer from 1953 to 1965.

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Tom Burlison became a regional officer of the GMB in Newcastle upon Tyne in 1965, and regional secretary in 1978.

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Tom Burlison's staff included former Labour ministers Nick Brown and Doug Henderson, and former MEP and Labour leader in the European parliament Alan Donnelly.

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Tom Burlison was involved in the selection of many Labour MPs, including Tony Blair and Peter Mandelson.

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Tom Burlison was involved in the negotiations in 1982 to merge the GMWU with the Boilermakers to form the General, Municipal, Boilermakers and Allied Trades Union.

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Tom Burlison was runner-up behind John Edmonds in the election for general secretary of the GMB in 1985.

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The GMB merged with APEX in 1989 for form the GMB Union, and Tom Burlison served as deputy general secretary of the merged union from 1991 to 1996.

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Tom Burlison was treasurer of the Labour Party from 1992 to 1996.

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Tom Burlison was chairman of the TUC northern region for nine years.

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Tom Burlison was a trustee of the Board of Governors of the University of Northumbria, a Deputy Lieutenant and Honorary President of Hartlepool United.

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Tom Burlison was an important moderniser on Labour's National Executive Committee in the years before the party's landslide victory at the 1997 general election.

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Tom Burlison was a working peer, and was a Lord in Waiting from 1999 to 2001.

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Tom Burlison lived in Rowlands Gill, Tyne and Wear, for at least 20 years.

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