Simon was born in September 1952. He was educated at Christ the King School, Accra, Ghana; Stamford School, Stamford, Lincolnshire; and Worcester College, Oxford, where he obtained a BA Honours Degree in Modern History. He also has an Honorary Doctorate of Philosophy from Anglia University.
He has a daughter, Amelia, and a son, Bobby.
Simon Burns speaking in House of Commons
Simon was Member of Parliament for Chelmsford from June 1987 – April 1997, for West Chelmsford from May 1997 to April 2010, and elected Member of Parliament for Chelmsford in May 2010.
From 1975 to 1980 he was Political Adviser to the Rt. Hon. Sally Oppenheim MP. From 1980-83 he was a journalist and company director of What To Buy for Business magazine, and from 1983-87 was on the Policy Executive of the Institute of Directors.
He has been active in politics since 1970 when he was a founder member of the Rutland and Stamford Young Conservatives, and founder and Chairman of the Stamford School CPC.
In 1972 he worked for Senator George McGovern in his presidential election bid against Richard Nixon. In December 2007/January 2008 he spent 10 days working on Hillary Clinton's Presidential Campaign in the New Hampshire Primary. From 1973-75 he was a committee member, Political Action Officer and Secretary of Oxford University Conservative Association, and a member of the Oxford Union.
Simon Burns being interviewed outside Number 10 Downing Street
From 1977-81 he was Treasurer, Southfields Ward, and a member of the Treasurer's and Executive Council, Putney Conservative Association. In 1983 he was Conservative candidate in Alyn and Deeside (North Wales) when he reduced Labour's majority from 6,800 to 1,368. In 1986 he was Chairman, Avonmore Ward, Fulham Conservative Association.
Simon has been Parliamentary Private Secretary to Timothy Eggar MP, and the Rt. Hon. Gillian Shephard MP, at the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food until July 1994. He has also been Assistant Government Whip (1994-1995), Lord Commissioner of Her Majesty's Treasury (1995-1996), & Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department of Health (1996-7).
Simon Burns MP celebrating the resurfacing of Lady Lane following his successful lobby of Essex County Council - September 2009
In June 1997 he was appointed opposition Front Bench Spokesman for Social Security, a position he held until August 1998 when he was appointed Front Bench Spokesman for Environment, Housing and Planning, until June 1999. He was elected a member of the executive at the 1922 Committee in July 1999 and Treasurer of the 1922 Committee in November 1999. He was a member of the House of Commons Health Select Committee from 1999 – 2005.
In September 2001 Simon was appointed Shadow Health Minister and was reappointed to this position in May 2005. From December 2005 to May 2010, he was the Senior Whip in the Opposition Whip's Office and following the General Election in May 2010, he was the Minister of State at the Department of Health. In January 2011, he was appointed a Member of the Privy Council and following the Government reshuffle in September 2012, Simon moved from the Department of Health to become the Minister for Transport.
Aside from his Shadow Ministerial duties, one of Simon's proudest achievements in Parliament since 1997 was successfully piloting through Parliament his Private Member's Bill – the Football (Offences and Disorder) Act 1999 – to tighten up the law on football hooligans, and pressuring the Government to strengthen legislation further in 2000 by giving the courts the power to withdraw hooligans' passports and prevent them from causing trouble abroad.
Simon Burns MP speaking on the Essex Chronicle's Soapbox on Chelmsford High Street during the May 2010 General Election Campaign
Simon is interested in American Politics, collecting political books and swimming.