Jack Straw: Wikis

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The Right Honourable
 Jack Straw 
MP


Incumbent
Assumed office 
28 June 2007
Prime Minister Gordon Brown
Preceded by The Lord Falconer of Thoroton

In office
6 May 2006 – 27 June 2007
Prime Minister Tony Blair
Preceded by Geoff Hoon
Succeeded by Harriet Harman

In office
8 June 2001 – 6 May 2006
Prime Minister Tony Blair
Preceded by Robin Cook
Succeeded by Margaret Beckett

In office
2 May 1997 – 8 June 2001
Prime Minister Tony Blair
Preceded by Michael Howard
Succeeded by David Blunkett

Member of Parliament
for Blackburn
Incumbent
Assumed office 
3 May 1979
Preceded by Barbara Castle
Majority 8,009 (19.2%)

Born 3 August 1946 (1946-08-03) (age 63)
Buckhurst Hill, United Kingdom
Political party Labour
Alma mater University of Leeds
Inns of Court School of Law
Religion Anglicanism
(Jewish Extraction)
Website www.jackstrawmp.org.uk

John Whitaker Straw (born 3 August 1946) is a British Labour politician, who has been the Member of Parliament for Blackburn since 1979. On 28 June 2007, he was appointed to the offices of Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice as part of new Prime Minister Gordon Brown's first Cabinet. Previously, he served as Home Secretary from 1997 to 2001, Foreign Secretary from 2001 to 2006 and Lord Privy Seal and Leader of the House of Commons from 2006 to 2007. He was a member of Tony Blair's first Cabinet, and is one of only three people to have served in Cabinet continuously since Labour took power.

Contents

Early life

Straw was born in Buckhurst Hill, Essex, England; his great-grandfather was a German Jewish immigrant.[1] Straw was brought up at Loughton, Essex by his mother, Joan Sylvia Gilbey[2][3] on a council estate after his father Walter Arthur Whitaker Straw,[2] an insurance salesman and the son of Arthur Whitaker Straw, left the family and condemned them to poverty. He was educated at Staples Road School, Loughton, and then boarded at Brentwood School, at that time a direct grant grammar school with largely LEA supported pupils, (where he was already expressing political ambitions and took the name "Jack", allegedly after the 14th century peasant leader Jack Straw—although "Jack" is a common diminutive of "John") and read law at the University of Leeds. While he was at Brentwood he opted out of the compulsory CCF (combined cadet force) on conscientious grounds.

Straw was elected chair of the Leeds University Labour Society at the 1966 Annual General Meeting, when the Society changed its name to Leeds University Socialist Society and withdrew its support from the Labour Party (a separate Labour Club was later formed by supporters of the Labour Party in Leeds University Union). When Straw disrupted a student trip to Chile, he was branded a "troublemaker acting with malice aforethought" by the Foreign Office.[4] Straw was then elected president of Leeds University Union with the support of the Broad Left, a coalition including Liberal, Socialist (formerly Labour, see above) and the Communist Societies. The Leeds University Union Council recently reinstated Jack Straw's life membership of the union, as a previous motion had removed his life membership and led to the removal of his name from the Presidents’ Board owing to personal disagreement with his political decisions.[5] At the National Union of Students conference at the end of 1967 he and David Adelstein, the Radicals leader from the London School of Economics, were defeated in their quest for officership in the NUS. That was repeated in April 1968 when Straw stood for NUS President and was defeated by Trevor Fisk.[6] In 1969 he succeeded in being elected President of the increasingly radical National Union of Students, having led the campaign to remove the "no politics" clause from the NUS constitution.

He qualified as a barrister at Inns of Court School of Law and practised criminal law. From 1971 to 1974 Jack Straw was a member of the Inner London Education Authority and Deputy Leader from 1973 to 1974. Straw contested Tonbridge and Malling constituency in Kent in the February 1974 general election. He served as political adviser to Barbara Castle at the Department of Social Security from 1974 to 1976 and then to Peter Shore at the Department for the Environment to 1977. He then worked as a researcher for the Granada TV current affairs series, World in Action.

During his time as political adviser, Straw was asked by Castle to examine the social security file of Norman Scott, who had claimed that the Liberal leader Jeremy Thorpe was behind an attempt to murder him. Castle had been asked by Harold Wilson to investigate Scott's file to see if it contained any evidence that he was involved in a security conspiracy against Thorpe. Straw informed Castle that when he went to examine Scott's file, he found it was missing. The journalist Barrie Penrose has alleged that Straw subsequently leaked details from the file to the media. Straw remains silent on that matter. He has denied allegations by Joe Haines, Wilson's press secretary, that Wilson asked for Scott's file to be viewed for party political purposes, in the hopes of gaining information that could be used to damage Thorpe if he attempted to form a coalition government with Edward Heath. By the time he was asked to view the file, Heath had ceased to be leader of the Conservative Party. At the time of the scandal, the general view, promoted in particular by Private Eye, was that Wilson was using his influence to help and protect Thorpe and certainly not to smear him. Thorpe was cleared of any involvement in the attempt on Scott's life.

Member of Parliament

Straw was selected to run for Parliament in Blackburn, Lancashire, Barbara Castle's seat, in 1977 after Castle decided not to run again. He won the seat in 1979 and has held it since, also becoming honorary president of the football team Blackburn Rovers. In the 1980s, he was an opposition spokesman on Treasury and economic affairs from 1980 to 1983, housing and local government from 1983 until promotion to the Shadow Cabinet in 1987.

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Shadow Cabinet

Straw's first Shadow Cabinet post was as Education spokesman from 1987. In this role, he called on Local Education Authorities to give private Muslim and Orthodox Jewish schools the right to opt out of the state system and still receive public funds. He also stated that the schools should be free to enter the state system. His comments came at a time of great controversy regarding the funding of Muslim schools. Straw argued that the controversy arose out of ignorance and stereotyping about women's role in Islam, pointing out that Muslim women acquired property rights centuries before European women. Straw played a significant role in articulating the Labour party's interest in and sensitivity to the issue.

Straw briefly served as Shadow Environment Secretary under John Smith from 1992 to 1994, speaking on matters concerning local government. When Tony Blair became leader after Smith's death, he chose Straw to succeed him as Shadow Home Secretary. Like Blair, Straw believed Labour's electoral chances had been damaged in the past by the party appearing to be "soft on crime" and he developed a reputation as being even more authoritarian than the Conservative Home Secretary Michael Howard. Straw garnered particular attention for comments condemning "aggressive beggars, winos and squeegee merchants" and calling for a curfew on children.

Home Secretary

Appointed as Home Secretary after the 1997 general election, he brought forward the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000, increased police powers against terrorism and proposed a reduction in the right to trial by jury. These policies won praise from Margaret Thatcher who once declared 'I trust Jack Straw. He is a very fair man.' They were deemed excessively authoritarian by his former students' union, which in 2000 banned him from the building—a policy which lapsed in 2003. However, he also incorporated the European Convention on Human Rights into British law, abolished the death penalty and pressed for action on institutionalised racism in the police revealed by the Stephen Lawrence case.

As Home Secretary, Straw was also involved in changing the electoral system for the European Parliament elections from plurality to proportional representation. In doing so, he advocated the use of d'Hondt formula as being the one that produces the most proportional outcomes. The d'Hondt formular, however, is less proportional to the Sainte-Laguë formula which was proposed by the Liberal Democrats. Straw later apologised to the House of Commons for his misleading comments,[7] but the d'Hondt formula stayed in place.

In March 2000, Jack Straw was responsible for allowing General Augusto Pinochet to return to Chile. There were requests from several countries for Pinochet to be extradited and face trial for crimes against humanity. Pinochet was placed under house arrest in Britain while appealing the legal authority of the Spanish and British courts to try him, but Straw eventually ordered his release on medical grounds before a trial could begin, and Pinochet returned to Chile.

Also in 2000, Straw turned down an asylum request from a man fleeing Saddam Hussein's regime, stating "we have faith in the integrity of the Iraqi judicial process and that you should have no concerns if you haven’t done anything wrong."[8]

He was the last Home Secretary to have all the traditional powers of that office, as following the 2001 general election, the government began transferring all non-law and order responsibilities to other departments.[citation needed]

Foreign Secretary

Straw appears at a press conference with United States Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice.

He was instead appointed Foreign Secretary to succeed Robin Cook. Within months Straw was confronted by the 11 September 2001 attacks in the United States. He was initially seen as taking a back seat to Tony Blair in the UK Government's prosecution of the "war against terrorism".

He caused controversy in 2002 when he erroneously referred to the Prime Minister as the Head of State.[9] In a letter to The Independent in 2004, he claimed that Trotskyists "can usually now be found in the City, appearing on quiz shows or ranting in certain national newspapers," and recommended "Left-Wing" Communism: An Infantile Disorder by Vladimir Lenin.[10]

In the 2004 Equatorial Guinea coup d'état attempt, Jack Straw was personally informed with months in advance of the plans for the takeover attempt and failed to accomplish the duty under international law of alerting that African country government. The involvement of British oil companies in the funding of the coup d'état, and the changing of British citizens evacuation plans for Equatorial Guinea before the attempt, posed serious challenges for the alleged ignorance of the situation. Later on, British officials and Jack Straw were forced to apologize to The Observer after categorically denying they had prior knowledge of the coup plot.[11][12][13]

In the run up to the 2005 general election Straw faced a potential backlash from his Muslim constituents over the Iraq War – the Muslim Public Affairs Committee UK (MPAC) attempted to capitalise on anti-war sentiment with 'operation Muslim vote' in Blackburn. In addition, Craig Murray, who had been pushed out of his job as ambassador to Uzbekistan, stood against his former boss (Straw was head of the FCO) on a platform opposing the use of information gathered under torture in the "War on Terror". Straw's vote fell by 20% compared to the previous general election in 2001 (21,808 to 17,562) although the mulitplicity of anti-Straw candidates makes it difficult to discern whether this was a particularly poor result for Straw and Labour. The swing to the second placed Conservatives was less than 2%, much lower than the national average. In any event, Straw was re-elected, while Murray trailed a distant fifth - barely managing to scrape the 5% of the vote necessary to retain his deposit and polling fewer votes than the BNP. Speaking moments after his re-election during the BBC's election night coverage, Straw called MPAC an 'egregious group' and expressed disappointment at its campaign tactics, which he saw as overly aggressive. Straw enjoys a reputation for involved local campaigning in his constituency despite his cabinet post, often spending many hours in the run up to elections literally standing on a soapbox in a high street area taking questions from the crowd and responding to criticism with a microphone[citation needed].

On 13 October 2005 Straw took questions from a public panel of (mostly anti-war)[citation needed] individuals in a BBC Newsnight television special on the subject of Iraq, addressing widespread public concerns about the exit strategy for British troops, the Iraqi insurgency and, inevitably, the moral legitimacy of the war. On several occasions Straw reiterated his position that the decision to invade was in his opinion the right thing to do, but said he did not 'know' for certain that this was the case. He said he understood why public opinion on several matters might differ from his own—a Newsnight/ICM poll showed over 70% of respondents believed the war in Iraq to have increased the likelihood of terrorist attacks in the United Kingdom, but Straw said he could not agree based on the information presented to him.

In February 2006, Straw attracted publicity after he condemned the publication of cartoons picturing Mohammed in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten.[14]

In April 2006, reports of secret White House plans to target Iranian nuclear installations with bunker busting nuclear bombs was described by Jack Straw as "completely nuts".[citation needed]

In August 2006, it was claimed by William Rees-Mogg in The Times that there was evidence that Straw was removed from this post upon the request of the Bush administration, possibly owing to his expressed opposition to bombing Iran.[15] It has also been alleged that another factor in his dismissal was the large number of Muslims amongst Straw's Blackburn constituents, supposedly considered a cause for concern by the US.[16] Some Iranian dissidents mocked Straw as "Ayatollah Straw" after his frequent visits to Tehran in the aftermath of the 11 September 2001 attacks.[17]

Straw gave evidence to the Iraq Inquiry on 21 January 2010, making him the second member of Tony Blair's cabinet to do so. He told the inquiry that the decision to go to war in Iraq had "haunted him" and that it was the "most difficult decision" of his life.[18]

Leader of the House of Commons

After the Labour Party suffered major defeats in local elections on 4 May 2006, losing 317 seats in balloting for 176 councils, Tony Blair acted the following day with a major reshuffle of his ministers during which he moved Straw from Foreign Secretary to Leader of the House of Commons and Lord Privy Seal. Straw had apparently requested a break from high ministerial office after serving in two of the four great departments of state for nearly ten years. Straw's close relationship with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was said to have 'infuriated' Number 10,[citation needed] with particular reference to her visit to Straw's Blackburn constituency which caused significant organisational difficulties. It is believed that Straw's public opposition to potential military actions in Iran during his tenure as Foreign Secretary was one of the main reasons behind his demotion[citation needed]. To lessen the apparent demotion, Blair gave Straw responsibility for House of Lords reform and party funding, issues which had been part of the portfolio of the Department for Constitutional Affairs. In addition, Straw was given the chairmanship of the Constitutional Affairs cabinet committee where he was responsible for attempting to force through a flat-fee charge for Freedom of Information requests.[19]

On 25 March 2007, Straw announced he was to run Gordon Brown's campaign for the Labour leadership. This was the first official confirmation the Chancellor would stand.[20]

Straw spearheaded the drive to criminalize harassment or bullying of others based on sexual orientation; the law made it illegal to satirize or condemn homosexual behaviors, a provision which outraged some religious groups that sought to insert free speech provisions in the amendment to the law.[21] Violating the statute would result in a longer sentence, seven years, than the five usually given to a rapist in the UK.[21]

2006 debate over veils

In October 2006 Straw attracted controversy by suggesting to a local newspaper, The Lancashire Evening Telegraph (now The Lancashire Telegraph), that Muslim women who wear veils that cover their faces (the niqab) can inhibit inter-community relations, though he denied the issue was raised for political gain, stating that he had raised it in private circles in the past and it had never progressed beyond discussions. Although he did not support a law banning a woman's right to choose to wear the veil, he would like them to abandon it altogether. Asked whether he would prefer veils to be abolished completely, Straw said: "Yes. It needs to be made clear I am not talking about being prescriptive but with all the caveats, yes, I would rather."[22] He said that he had asked women visiting his constituency surgeries to consider uncovering their noses and mouths in order to allow better communication. He claimed that no women had ever chosen to wear a full-veil after this request.[23][24][25] However, given that he is known to suffer from tinnitus (which compromises the ability to hear), it is possible that he requested the veil to be removed so that he could lip-read the woman.

Straw's comments kicked off a wide-ranging and sometimes harshly worded debate within British politics and the media; Straw was supported by some establishment figures and castigated by others, including Muslim groups. There is debate within the Muslim community whether the Qur'an and hadith (traditions of Muhammad) require the use of the full face veil, see sartorial hijab.[26]

Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice

Straw canvassing with local councillors in Blackburn.

Straw was appointed Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain and Secretary of State for Justice on the first full day of Gordon Brown's ministry, 28 June 2007. He is the first Lord Chancellor since the sixteenth century to serve in the role whilst a member of the House of Commons. His appointment means that he will continue to be a major figure in the Labour Government. Only Straw, Alistair Darling and Gordon Brown have served in the cabinet continuously since Labour's administration began in May 1997.[27] Straw represented the government on a controversial edition of Question Time on 22 October 2009, against British National Party leader Nick Griffin on his first ever appearance. Griffin's first comment was to attack Straw's father's wartime record, to general disdain. Straw later offered his personal assurance as Justice Secretary as Griffin claimed that European laws prevented him from explaining his stance on holocaust denial, which Griffin declined.

Alleged ambitions for premiership

In February 2009 Straw was reported to have described himself as being "ready to become Prime Minister" although not "yearning to be Prime Minister". A recent poll was said to have shown him to be the public's favourite to succeed.[28]

Vetoing Freedom of Information Act requests

In February 2009, Straw used his authority as Justice Secretary to veto publication of government documents requested under the Freedom of Information Act: in particular, those pertaining to early government meetings concerning the (forthcoming) Iraq War.[29]

Expenses claims

Jack Straw admitted using expenses to claim full council tax bill despite only paying a 50% rate. Straw said he had acted in good faith and had repaid the erroneous claims once he was aware that MPs' expenses were to be made public. In a hand-written note to the Commons authorities he declared that "accountancy does not appear to be my strongest suit" despite being a Fellow of the Royal Statistical Society.[30][31]

Personal life

Straw's first marriage, in 1968, to teacher Anthea Weston ended in divorce in 1977. They had a daughter, born in March 1976, who died after five days because of a heart defect. On 10 November 1978 he married Alice Perkins, a senior Civil Servant.[32] In 2006 Straw's wife joined the board of the country's largest airports operator BAA, shortly before it was taken over by the Spanish firm Ferrovial.[33]

Straw is a sufferer of tinnitus.[34]

His son, Will Straw, was president of the Oxford University Student Union, and a Fulbright Scholar. In 2009 he became a founding editor of the political blog, 'Left Foot Forward' [35][36]

Jack Straw's father was sent to prison in 1939 during part of World War II for being a conscientious objector.[37]

Bibliography

Author or co-author

  • Implementation of the Human Rights Act 1998: Minutes of Evidence, Wednesday 14 March 2001 (2001) ISBN 0-10-442701-9
  • Making Prisons Work: Prison Reform Trust Annual Lecture (1998) ISBN 0-946209-44-8
  • Future of Policing and Criminal Justice (Institute of Police & Criminological Studies Occasional Paper S.) (1996) ISBN 1-86137-087-3
  • Policy and Ideology (1993) ISBN 0-9521163-0-8

Reports

  • Reform of the Race Relations Act 1976: Proposals for Change Submitted by the Commission for Racial Equality to the Rt Hon Jack Straw MP, Secretary of State for the Home Department, on 30 April 1998 (1998) ISBN 1-85442-210-3

Footnotes

  1. ^ Scotsman.com
  2. ^ a b Who's Who 2008, A & C Black, 2008; online edn, Oxford University Press, Dec 2007
  3. ^ General Register Office Birth Index 1946 Q3 Epping 5a 178
  4. ^ "Straw comments reflect Cabinet unease". BBC News. 30 July 2006. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/5228770.stm. Retrieved 5 January 2010. 
  5. ^ "Leeds University Union Union Council - November Referendum Meeting" (PDF). http://www.luuonline.com/referendum/documents/ucagenda5nov07.pdf. 
  6. ^ Student Power by Sir Patrick Wall, MC, MP., Conservative Monday Club, London, 1969, p.8.
  7. ^ McLean, Iain and Johnston, Ron (2009) 'When is proportional not proportional? Great Britain's 2009 elections to the European Parliament', Representation, 45: 351.
  8. ^ Chomsky, Noam (21 January 2006). "Iconoclast and Radical Who Takes the Long View - Noam Chomsky interviewed by Denis Staunton". The Irish Times. http://www.chomsky.info/interviews/20060121.htm. Retrieved 22 February 2009. 
  9. ^ Telegraph.co.uk
  10. ^ "Not a Trot". The Independent. http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/letters/bbc-fights-for-the-arts-celebrity-help-for-starving-people-and-others-533363.html. 
  11. ^ "How much did Straw know and when did he know it?". Guardian. http://www.guardian.co.uk/equatorialguinea/story/0,,1361326,00.html. Retrieved 22 August 2007. 
  12. ^ "Revealed: how Britain was told full coup plan". Guardian. http://observer.guardian.co.uk/politics/story/0,6903,1361299,00.html. Retrieved 22 August 2007. 
  13. ^ "Equatorial Guinea". Parliament of the United Kingdom. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200304/cmhansrd/vo041109/text/41109w21.htm#41109w21.html_spnew5. Retrieved 22 August 2007. 
  14. ^ "U.S.: Muhammad Cartoon 'Offensive'". CBS news. http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/02/03/world/main1277068_page2.shtml. Retrieved 18 June 2007. 
  15. ^ "How the US fired Jack Straw". London: timesonline.co.uk. 7 August 2006. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,6-2301799,00.html. Retrieved 14 August 2006. 
  16. ^ "With extreme prejudice". Guardian Online. http://www.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,,1839938,00.html. 
  17. ^ "Teheran two-times Straw by backing both sides". Iran Focus. http://www.iranfocus.com/modules/news/article.php?storyid=89. Retrieved 18 June 2007. 
  18. ^ "Straw says Iraq 'most difficult decision' in his life". BBC News (BBC). 21 January 2010. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/8471511.stm. Retrieved 29 January 2010. 
  19. ^ "Clarke sacked in major cabinet reshuffle". The Guardian. 5 May 2006. http://politics.guardian.co.uk/labour/story/0,,1768251,00.html. Retrieved 5 May 2006. 
  20. ^ "Straw to run Brown leadership bid". BBC News. 25 March 2007. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/6492417.stm. Retrieved 25 March 2007. 
  21. ^ a b "Gay hate law 'threat to Christian free speech'". The Daily Mail. 20 November 2007. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-496871/Gay-hate-law-threat-Christian-free-speech.html. Retrieved 21 April 2009. 
  22. ^ In quotes: Jack Straw on the veilBBC News. 6 October 2006
  23. ^ "Straw in plea to Muslim women: Take off your veils". The Blackburn, Darwen And Hyndburn Citizen. http://www.blackburncitizen.co.uk/news/newsheadlines/display.var.954145.0.straw_in_plea_to_muslim_women_take_off_your_veils.php. Retrieved 18 June 2007. 
  24. ^ "Muslim veil row". GMTV. http://www.gm.tv/index.cfm?articleid=22773. Retrieved 18 June 2007. 
  25. ^ "Straw's veil comments spark anger". BBC News. 5 October 2006. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/politics/5410472.stm. Retrieved 5 January 2010. 
  26. ^ Different hijabs
  27. ^ "Clutching at Straw". The Guardian. 28 July 2008. http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/jul/28/jackstraw.gordonbrown. Retrieved 14 September 2009. 
  28. ^ TheSun.co.uk
  29. ^ BBC News (25 February 2009). "Straw vetoes Iraq minutes release". BBC News. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/7907991.stm. Retrieved 5 January 2010. 
  30. ^ "MPs' expenses claims - key details". BBC News. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/8039273.stm. Retrieved 13 May 2009. 
  31. ^ Rayner, Gordon (8 May 2009). "Daily Telegraph: Jack Straw". Telegraph.co.uk. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/mps-expenses/5293369/Jack-Straw-apologises-for-bungling-claim-MPs-expenses.html. Retrieved 13 May 2009. 
  32. ^ Joe Murphy (19 June 2001). "Cabinet's own marriage failures force retreat on traditional wedlock". Daily Telegraph. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1314756/Cabinet's-own-marriage-failures-force-retreat-on-traditional-wedlock.html. Retrieved 2 August 2008. 
  33. ^ Richard Wachman (20 August 2006). "Couldn't BAA have come up with a contingency plan?". The Observer. http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2006/aug/20/businesscomment.theairlineindustry. Retrieved 2 August 2008. 
  34. ^ "Hoping for the sound of silence". http://www.4hearingloss.com/archives/2006/05/hoping_for_the.html. 
  35. ^ "About:Left foot forward". Left foot forward. http://www.leftfootforward.org./about. Retrieved 22 November 2009. 
  36. ^ "Will Straw: Rising son". The Independent. 29 January 2003. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/profiles/will-straw-rising-son-746657.html. Retrieved 18 September 2009. 
  37. ^ DailyMail.co.uk

External links

Non-profit organization positions
Preceded by
Trevor Fisk
President of the National Union of Students
1969–1971
Succeeded by
Digby Jacks
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Barbara Castle
Member of Parliament for Blackburn
1979–present
Incumbent
Political offices
Preceded by
Bryan Gould
Shadow Secretary of State for Environment
1992–1994
Succeeded by
Frank Dobson
Preceded by
Tony Blair
Shadow Home Secretary
1994–1997
Succeeded by
Brian Mawhinney
Preceded by
Michael Howard
Home Secretary
1997–2001
Succeeded by
David Blunkett
Preceded by
Robin Cook
Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
2001–2006
Succeeded by
Margaret Beckett
Preceded by
Geoff Hoon
Leader of the House of Commons
2006–2007
Succeeded by
Harriet Harman
Lord Privy Seal
2006–2007
Preceded by
The Lord Falconer of Thoroton
Secretary of State for Justice
2007–present
Incumbent
Lord Chancellor
2007–present
Order of precedence in England and Wales
Preceded by
Rowan Williams
as Archbishop of Canterbury
Gentlemen
as Lord Chancellor
Succeeded by
John Sentamu
as Archbishop of York
Order of precedence in Scotland
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The Earl of Harewood
Gentlemen
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Succeeded by
David Lunan
as Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland
Order of precedence in Northern Ireland
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John Finlay
as Moderator of the Presbyterian Church
Gentlemen
as Lord Chancellor
Succeeded by
Gordon Brown
as Prime Minister

Simple English

File:Jack Straw meeting with Rumsfeld at Pentagon, May 19, 2005,
Jack Straw is a former Labour cabinet minister.

John Whitaker 'Jack' Straw (born 3 August 1946 in Buckhurst Hill, Essex, England) is a British politician who held several cabinet posts in the Labour governments of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. He is the Member of Parliament (MP) for the constituency of Blackburn.

Jack Straw became a Labour Party MP at the 1979 General Election for the constituency of Blackburn. He was promoted to the shadow cabinet in 1987 and became the Home Secretary when Labour returned to power in 1997. His other cabinet posts included: Foreign Secretary (2001-2006), Leader of the House of Commons (2006-2007) and Justice Secretary (2007-2010). He did not choose to become a member of Ed Miliband's shadow cabinet.


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