FED Ambassador: Gordon Marsden is a politician, historian , writer and commentator and was MP for Blackpool South from 1997 to 2019.
Before entering Parliament Gordon was an Open University Lecturer and tutor for 20 years , helped launch and later advised English Heritage , and was both Publisher and Editor of the magazine History Today for 12 years – in Parliament he chaired the History of Parliament Trust from 2016- 2020 , and of which he remains a Trustee. He was also chair of the Young Fabians and of the Fabian Society.
Gordon served in Government in the 2000s as Parliamentary Private Secretary to Lord Chancellor Derry Irvine, DCMS Secretary Tessa Jowell , and John Denham , Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government. He also served a member of Select Committees on Education & Employment, Innovation, Universities and Skills and chaired Parliament’s All-Party Skills Group.
On the Opposition front bench for nine years , Gordon held portfolios which included in Transport , skills in the maritime and aviation industries, and covering the world of education, skills and apprenticeships . He was Shadow Minister for Higher and Further Education and Skills from 2015 to 2019 , during which time he set up and co ordinated the independent Lifelong Learning Commission (LLCOM) which reported its recommendations in November 2019.
Gordon continues to commentate on those areas and is the co- founder ( along with other colleagues from the LLCOM) of the Right to Learn campaign , which was launched in December 2020 , to take forward ideas to address both the impact of the pandemic in education and lifelong learning and setting out a roadmap for the 2020s. Its inaugural conference in May 2021 included addresses from David (Lord) Blunkett and Andreas Schleicher of the OECD.
Gordon is also a Trustee of the national social mobility charity Villiers Park Educational Trust , helping to support high ability students from less advantaged backgrounds with mentoring and programmes to attain further and higher education , technical skills and other pathways to successful careers. As a former chair of Parliament’s All Party Veterans Group , he continues to take an interest in and support for the skills needs and careers of ex-Armed Forces personnel when they leave the forces.
He is passionate about and has taken a long-standing interest in improving the life chances of young people, as well as the regeneration of the fabric and economies of seaside and coastal towns. In the 2000s Gordon set up the first dedicated Parliamentary group for this , and was chair of the All-Party Tourism group which in 2018 produced a report about the impact of the gig economies , and especially on small businesses , in tourism areas , both inland and coastal , in the UK.