Jack Straw

Rt Hon Jack Straw was one of only three people to serve in senior Cabinet positions throughout the 1997-2010 Labour Governments, of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. He was Foreign Secretary 2001 to 2006, Home Secretary 1997 to 2001, Leader of the Commons 2006 to 2007, and Lord Chancellor and Justice Secretary 2007 to 2010.. From 1979 to 2015 he was MP Blackburn.

After having been called to the Bar and practiced there, he worked as a Special Advisor. In the Commons Jack was appointed to the Front Bench in 1980 and in 1987 he became the Opposition spokesman on Education, then Environment, and from 1994 to 1997 he was Shadow Home Secretary.

As Home Secretary Jack oversaw the introduction of the Freedom of Information Act and the incorporation of the European Convention on Human Rights into British law. As Foreign Secretary he played a leading role in the foreign policy problems arising from the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York and the resulting interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq. He was also closely involved with many major European decisions; with his French and German counterparts, he initiated the international negotiations with Iran on its nuclear programme.

He is a Visiting Professor at the University College London School of Public Policy, a Trustee of the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), and Chairman of the British-Iranian Chamber of Commerce. From 2011 to 2023 he was co-Chairman of the government-sponsored British-Turkish Forum, ‘the Tatlidil’. He has been Chairman of the Blackburn Youth Zone since 2015, and a Trustee of Star Academies multi-academy trust.

His memoir, Last Man Standing (2012, Macmillan) was described as ‘The big beast of this year’s memoirs…an acerbic, plain-spoken, and often self-mocking account’ (Robert McCrum, Books of the Year, Observer). Of his latest book The English Job, Understanding Iran (2019, Biteback), Sir John Sawers, Chief of MI6 (2009-2014) said : ‘essential reading for those with a thirst of deeper understanding of the Middle East’s most complex and fascinating nation’.

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