Frank Dobson

Infobox Politician
honorific-prefix = The Rt Hon
name = Frank Dobson
honorific-suffix =

office = Secretary of State for Health
term_start = 2 May 1997
term_end = 11 October 1999
primeminister = Tony Blair
predecessor = Stephen Dorrell
successor = Alan Milburn
constituency_MP2 = Holborn and St. Pancras
term_start2 = 9 June 1983
term_end2 =
majority2= 4,787 (13.9%)
predecessor2 = "new constituency"
successor2 = Incumbent
birth_date = Birth date and age|1940|03|15|df=yes
birth_place = Dunnington
death_date =
death_place =
nationality = British
spouse =
party = Labour
relations =
children =
residence =
alma_mater = London School of Economics
occupation =
profession =
religion =

website =
footnotes =

Frank Gordon Dobson (born March 15, 1940) is a British Labour Party politician. He is currently the Member of Parliament for the London constituency of Holborn and St. Pancras. He served as Secretary of State for Health from 1997-9, and was the official Labour party candidate for Mayor of London in 2000 (he finished third in the election behind Ken Livingstone and Steven Norris).

Early life

Dobson's father was a railwayman and he was born in York, England where he attended Dunnington County C of E Primary School and the Archbishop Holgate Grammar School (became Archbishop Holgate's School in 1985) on "Hull Road". He then studied Economics at the London School of Economics, gaining a BSc in 1962. He worked for the headquarters of the Central Electricity Generating Board from 1962-70 and the Electricity Council from 1970-5. From 1975-9, he was Assistant Secretary of the Office of Local Ombudsman. After fighting for a seat on Camden Borough Council in 1964, he was elected in 1971 and rose so rapidly that he was chosen as Labour Group Leader (and therefore Leader of the Council) after the resignation of Millie Miller in 1973.

Member of Parliament

He stood down as Leader in 1975 and resigned from the Council on taking up a non-partisan job as Assistant Secretary of the Office of Local Ombudsman. In 1979 he was elected as MP for Holborn and St. Pancras. His naturally pugnacious style of politics earned him rapid promotion to the front bench where he served in several important posts from 1982; his liking for 'dirty jokes' and conviviality won him many friends despite his partisanship. As Spokesman on Environment and London from 1994 he led the national Labour response to the series of scandals over City of Westminster council and its former leader Shirley Porter.

In government

However, when Labour won power in 1997, Dobson was appointed as Secretary of State for Health. This was a high-profile post but Dobson found it difficult to make a significant impact because of the decision to stick within spending limits set by the previous Conservative government. The government's proposal to introduce Private Finance Initiative Hospitals was highly controversial.

Election for Mayor of London

Dobson was manoeuvred by the Labour Party leadership into announcing his resignation in order to stand as Mayor of London in the inaugural elections. He managed to beat Ken Livingstone in the Labour Party's internal selection, helped by an electoral college system that tended to favour him and no requirement for affiliated trade unions to ballot their members. Livingstone then fought and won the Mayoral election as an independent. Dobson finished third behind Livingstone and the Conservative candidate Steven Norris, and only just ahead of the Liberal Democrat candidate Susan Kramer. Dobson has since been a critical friend of the Government and was re-elected as an MP, albeit with a reduced majority, in the May 2005 general election. He was one of the main opponents of the Iraq war from within the Labour party, proposing the anti war motion in the crucial House of Commons debate on the subject.

Criticism and Controversy

In the Labour leadership controversy following Tony Blair's declaration he would step down within a year of September 2006, Dobson called for Blair to step down right away and end uncertainty.

He also attacked Alan Milburn for making a 'terrible mess' of the NHS. Milburn had some hours been earlier been mentioned by Charles Clarke as a possible future Labour leader. [,,-6067136,00.html]

In late 2006 he underwent a quadruple bypass and was away from parliament for a considerable time but is believed to have recovered well, and has been active since.

Personal life

He married Janet Mary Alker in 1967 and they have two sons and a daughter.

External links

* [ Camden Labour Party] official party site
* [ ePolitix - Rt Hon Frank Dobson] official site
* [,9290,-1413,00.html Guardian Unlimited Politics - Ask Aristotle: Frank Dobson MP]
* [ - Frank Dobson MP]
* [ "..since 1997" when Dobson became Health Secretary]
* [ 'In Charge of a Nation's Health' - Interview with Frank Dobson in sBMJ by Tom Jaconelli]
* [ BBC Politics]

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