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The Right Honourable
 The Lord Bassam of Brighton 

Assumed office 
3 October 2008
Prime Minister Gordon Brown
Preceded by The Baroness Royall of Blaisdon

Born 11 June 1953 (1953-06-11) (age 56)
Great Bentley, United Kingdom
Political party Labour Co-operative
Alma mater University of Sussex
University of Kent

John Steven Bassam, Baron Bassam of Brighton, PC (born 11 June 1953) is a British Labour and Co-operative politician and member of the House of Lords.

He grew up on a council estate in Great Bentley, Essex and went to the local County High School (now Colbayns) in Clacton-on-Sea. He then went to study at the University of Sussex and University of Kent, where he received a Masters in social work, Bassam began his career as a social worker at Camden Borough council. He moved on to other roles in local government, serving as Head of Environmental Health and Consumer Affairs at the Association of Metropolitan Authorities, later Local Government Association 1988-97.

Infamously he was also a squatter during his early years in Brighton, whereupon he founded the Squatters Union which campaigned for the rights of squatters to accommodate empty properties and improving the conditions of the squats for the purpose of living.

In the meantime, Bassam had become involved in local politics and became a Brighton councillor, rising to become Leader of Brighton, then Brighton & Hove Council from 1987 until 1999. He stood unsuccessfully for Parliament in Brighton Kemptown at the 1987 general election against the Conservative MP Andrew Bowden. In 1997 he was made a life peer as Baron Bassam of Brighton, of Brighton in the County of East Sussex,[1] and acted as a government whip and spokesperson for the Cabinet Office, Home Office and Department for Transport. In 2008, he became Government Chief Whip and Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms.

On 8 July 2009 he was made a Privy Councillor.[2]

In January 2009, he visited his High School to meet old teachers and students to see how the school has changed since he was there.[3]


  1. ^ London Gazette: no. 54942, p. 12601, 10 November 1997. Retrieved on 2009-05-25.
  2. ^ - Announcement of Privy Councillors on 8 July
  3. ^ - a press release regarding his visit to Clacton in January 2009.
Political offices
Preceded by
The Baroness Royall of Blaisdon
Chief Whip of the House of Lords
Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen at Arms


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