Rt Hon Jack Straw
Former Member of Parliament for Blackburn, former Home Secretary, Foreign Secretary and Secretary of State for Justice
The Rt Hon Jack Straw is former Member of Parliament for Blackburn, having served in senior Cabinet positions in successive Labour governments from 1997 to 2010
Jack Straw is one of the most experienced British and European politicians. His long career including continuous Cabinet-level roles has featured many momentous political and economic decisions in national, European and wider international affairs.
He has a reputation for clear, pragmatic thinking and blunt good sense: the Guardian newspaper has described his policy interventions as “independent and searching”.
After a prominent radical role in national student politics in the 1960s he worked as a barrister, spent three years as adviser to two Cabinet Ministers (Barbara Castle and Peter Shore), and then worked on Granada TV’s flagship WORLD IN ACTION programme. He was a London borough councillor and deputy leader of the Inner London Education Authority.
He first entered Parliament as a Labour MP representing Blackburn in 1979 and had a number of Shadow Cabinet roles. After the Labour Party’s 1997 election victory he served as Home Secretary before becoming Foreign Secretary in 2001 and then Leader of the House of Commons and Lord Privy Seal in 2006. He finally served as Lord High Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice from 2007 until 2010.
Now again in Opposition, Jack Straw is a powerful and influential voice in British politics on a wide range of economic and foreign policy issues. He has been outspoken on strategic European questions including prospects for the Eurozone, car insurance sector reform and ‘multi-culturalism’ (his Blackburn constituency has a sizeable Muslim community).
Often criticized for his firm approach to civil liberties questions concerning suspected terrorists and his high-profile role in supporting the Iraq intervention, Jack Straw remains a popular figure in the UK and Europe, not least for his deft self-deprecating humour: as Home Secretary he joked that his large department was “full of civil servants working diligently on projects that might ruin my career”.