Born in nearby Oswaldtwistle, Gordon has lived in Burnley for 33 years. He has been one of few MPs to have served an apprenticeship, being apprenticed to Howard & Bullough in Accrington after leaving school.
His first venture into politics was as a Labour Councillor in Great Harwood in the 1970s but it was with the foundation of the SDP that he first stood in Burnley in 1982, losing by just 8 votes. He went on to win the following May and has been a Councillor in Burnley ever since.
As a former apprentice himself Gordon understands the importance of apprenticeships in helping both young people to find a career and to local businesses in finding skilled workers to allow them to base themselves in Burnley and Padiham. Gordon has brought this experience and knowledge to Government where he has been the spokesman for apprenticeships. Nationally over 1.6 million new apprenticeships have been created since 2010 and here in Burnley the number of apprenticeships have more than doubled since 2010 helping both young people and local businesses.
Gordon has a long history of fighting hard for Burnley General Hospital. When Labour closed Burnley's Accident and Emergency department, Gordon led the fight to try to save the unit with thousands of Burnley residents signing his petition against the closure. When Labour followed this with the closure of Burnley Hospital's Children's Ward, Gordon again led the fight to save the unit - taking the fight all the way to the Health Secretary. Since becoming Burnley and Padiham's MP, Gordon has brought many services back to our hospital - like a brand new £9 million emergency unit enabling Burnley to take more ambulances than any time since the closure of the old A&E. Gordon has also fought for other new improvements to the hospital like his successful campaign to bring a new eye unit to Burnley.
In addition to these campaigns, Gordon has also raised money for Prostate Scanners for the hospital to help detect prostate cancer, the disease which had killed his father. In his year as Mayor of Burnley in 2003 Gordon raised £59,000 for a new scanner. In 2013/4 when this scanner needed replacing Gordon raised another £75,000 for another new scanner (see picture above).
Investment in Burnley
Since being elected in 2010 Gordon has worked hard with local Lib Dems to bring investment and new jobs to Burnley and Padiham. This has seen the creation of two new major industrial parks in Burnley (at Burnley Bridge and the former Michelin Site), the redevelopment of the Weavers Triangle and the building of a new University Technical College to train 14-19 year olds in engineering vocations, the building of a new station at Burnley Manchester Road. On top of this, Gordon successfully campaigned for the rebuilding of the Todmorden Curve stretch of railway which will enable direct trains from Burnley to Manchester from 18th May 2015 for the first time in over forty years.