The Right Honourable Jack Straw MP
The Labour Party
Jack read law at Leeds University and became a national student leader known
for radical positions. After qualifying as a barrister, he had various media roles
and entered Parliament in 1979 as MP for Blackburn. Following various shadow
spokesman positions, he was appointed Home Secretary after the Labour Party
won the 1997 general election.
His time as Home Secretary had its fair share of controversies (including new
measures to increase police powers to deal with suspected terrorists) and saw
the European Convention on Human Rights incorporated into British law.
Appointed Foreign Secretary in 2001, he played a leading role in the dramatic
foreign policy issues arising from the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York and the
interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq. He publicly defended these decisions, but
in 2010 he told the Iraq Inquiry that the 2003 decision to go to war “had
haunted him”. As Foreign Secretary he was closely involved with many top
European decisions such as the negotiation of the EU Budget deal in 2005 and
the associated strategic EU economic issues.
In 2006 he was appointed Leader of the House of Commons and Lord Privy
Seal with responsibility for parliamentary reform. He became Lord Chancellor
and Justice Secretary in 2007. Following the 2010 general election, he returned
to the Opposition benches. In 2011 he attracted controversy for his frank policy
positions on the future of the Eurozone. His autobiography “Last Man Standing”
was recently published and has received favourable reviews.