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Secretary of State for Health - Alan Johnson

Alan Johnson is a former postman whose round famously used to include Dorneywood, which was the grace-and-favour country house in Buckinghamshire used by John Prescott when he was deputy prime minister.

He moved from education to health in June 2007, at the age of 57, having narrowly lost out to Harriet Harman in the election to be Labour's deputy leader.

He had been the first former union leader in four decades to become a Cabinet minister when he was given the post of work and pensions secretary in 2004.

And he took on education at a time when the government was struggling to persuade people of the merits of its secondary-school reforms, something he was widely seen as needing to do when Gordon Brown moved him to health.

Alan Johnson


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