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Editor's blog Friday 8 October 2010: John Healey MP Labour's new shadow health secretary

John Healey, MP for Wentworth and Dearne since Tony Blair's 1997 landslide, is the new shadow health minister (Andy Burnham goes to shadow education).

Healey was Minister for Housing and Planning at the Department for Communities and Local Government (CLG) June 2009 - May 2010, after a spell as local government minister since 2007.

He has financial experience (which is handy, shadowing a spending brief such as health) - previously a Financial Secretary to the Treasury 2005-7, and before that Parliamentary Private Secretary to Chancellor of the Exchequer.

He also has highly health-relevant professional experience, having worked in the voluntary sector from 1984 to 1990 with the Royal National Institute for the Deaf, the Royal Association for Disability and Rehabilitation and MIND campaigning to improve rights and services for disabled people.

From 1990 to 1994 he worked in communications as a campaigns manager for PR firm Issue Communications, and he became head of communications at the Manufacturing, Science and Finance trade union in 1992.

He has trades unions links from his period as TUC Campaigns Director 1994-7.

He's also an ex-hack, having been a journalist and the deputy editor of the internal magazine of the Palace of Westminster, The House for a year in 1983.

The indispensable They Work For You website states that Healey voted "very strongly" for introducing foundation hospitals, and "moderately" against a transparent Parliament.

His expenses claims are nothing extravagant at all.

Healey supported Ed Balls for the Labour leadership.

And he is clearly popular with his parliamentary colleagues, coming second in the shadow cabinet election with 192 votes.