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Nick Brown


Nick Brown

Official portrait of Rt Hon Nicholas Brown MP crop 2.jpg
Brown in 2020
Opposition Chief Whip of the House of Commons
Attending Shadow Cabinet
Assumed office
6 October 2016
LeaderJeremy Corbyn
Keir Starmer
Preceded byRosie Winterton
In office
11 May 2010 – 7 October 2010
LeaderHarriet Harman (Acting)
Ed Miliband
Preceded byPatrick McLoughlin
Succeeded byRosie Winterton
Government Chief Whip of the House of Commons
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury
In office
3 October 2008 – 11 May 2010
Prime MinisterGordon Brown
Preceded byGeoff Hoon
Succeeded byPatrick McLoughlin
In office
2 May 1997 – 27 July 1998
Prime MinisterTony Blair
Preceded byAlastair Goodlad
Succeeded byAnn Taylor
Minister for the North East
In office
28 June 2007 – 11 May 2010
Prime MinisterGordon Brown
Preceded byPosition established
Succeeded byPosition abolished
Deputy Government Chief Whip in the House of Commons
Treasurer of the Household
In office
28 June 2007 – 3 October 2008
Prime MinisterGordon Brown
Preceded byBob Ainsworth
Succeeded byTommy McAvoy
Minister of State for Work
In office
11 June 2001 – 13 June 2003
Prime MinisterTony Blair
Preceded byPosition established
Succeeded byDes Browne
Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food
In office
27 July 1998 – 11 June 2001
Prime MinisterTony Blair
Preceded byJack Cunningham
Succeeded byMargaret Beckett (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
Shadow Leader of the House of Commons
Acting
In office
12 May 1994 – 21 July 1994
LeaderMargaret Beckett (Acting)
Preceded byMargaret Beckett
Succeeded byMargaret Beckett
Member of Parliament
for Newcastle upon Tyne East
Newcastle upon Tyne East and Wallsend (1997–2010)
Assumed office
9 June 1983
Preceded byMike Thomas
Majority15,463 (35.7%)
Personal details
Born
Nicholas Hugh Brown

(1950-06-13) 13 June 1950 (age 70)
Hawkhurst, England
NationalityBritish
Political partyLabour
Alma materUniversity of Manchester
WebsiteOfficial website

Nicholas Hugh Brown[1] (born 13 June 1950) is a British Labour Party politician who has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for Newcastle upon Tyne East since 1983. Brown is currently the Chief Whip of the Labour Party and has held the position intermittently since 1997 under four Labour Party leaders, both in government and in opposition. He previously served in several ministerial roles while his party was in government between 1997 and 2010.[2]

Early life

Brown was born in Hawkhurst, Kent, and brought up in nearby Tunbridge Wells, attending Tunbridge Wells Grammar School for Boys[3] before studying at the University of Manchester. After graduating, he worked in advertising for Procter & Gamble, but in 1978 he moved to be legal adviser to the Northern Region of the GMBATU, later GMB, based in Newcastle upon Tyne. In 1980 he was elected to Newcastle City Council, representing the Walker ward.

Political career

When Mike Thomas, the sitting Labour Member of Parliament (MP) for Newcastle upon Tyne East, defected to the SDP, Brown was chosen as the new Labour Party candidate for the seat, easily retaining it for Labour at the 1983 general election. He joined Labour's front bench in 1985 as a spokesman on Legal Affairs; from 1988 he was a Treasury spokesman and from 1994 he shadowed Health.

Originally elected to the Commons in the same year as Gordon Brown and Tony Blair, Brown was initially close to both men, but over time became his namesake Brown's staunchest ally, though the two are unrelated. In the 1994 Labour leadership election he acted as Brown's unofficial campaign manager, and according to Gordon Brown's biographer Paul Routledge, advised against him pulling out of the contest in Blair's favour.

In 1995, he was appointed Deputy Chief Whip and played a central role in the close Parliament in trying to defeat the Conservatives. After Labour's election victory in 1997, he was appointed Chief Whip, but stayed there only for a year, to then be moved to the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food in 1998. This change, which followed the publication of the Routledge biography earlier that year, was widely seen as a demotion,[citation needed] and ascribed to his close connection with Brown.

His tenure at MAFF saw several animal health crises ending with the 2001 foot-and-mouth outbreak. Brown's handling of the outbreak, which some in the media and politics used to attack the government, was criticised, though throughout he maintained the support of the farming and food industries and the veterinary profession.[citation needed] Suggestions that a vaccination strategy should have been practised in preference to the culling of hundreds of thousands of animals, made with the benefit of hindsight, did not help his cause, and he was demoted out to be the Minister of Work, with non-voting Cabinet rank, at the Department for Work and Pensions after the general election of 2001. In June 2003, he was dropped from the Government altogether, receiving news of his sacking by Tony Blair during the course of a celebration party held to mark his 20 years as an MP.

Brown was closely allied to Gordon Brown. In 2004, he was one of the organisers of a rebellion over the government's proposals for student finance, but hours before the vote announced that he had received concessions from the Government and would now support it. It was suspected that the Chancellor had ordered him to back down, but the affair cost him some credibility. On 29 June 2007, he was announced as Brown's new Deputy Chief Whip and Minister for the North East. Following a government reshuffle, he was returned to his original government position of Government Chief Whip, retaining his position as Minister for the North East.

In 2009, Brown was appointed to investigate the legitimacy of expense claims by Labour MPs between 2004 and 2008. According to The Daily Telegraph in this period Brown himself claimed a total of £87,708 for his constituency home.[4]

Brown's mortgage interest repayments for 2007-8 totalled £6,600, but he also claimed a total of £23,068, just £15 below the maximum allowable amount for the year. The claim included £4,800 for food – the maximum allowable amount – £2,880 for repairs and insurance, £2,880 for services, £897.65 for cleaning, £1,640 for phones and £1,810 for utilities. Brown, however, has said that he saved the taxpayer a considerable amount of money by turning down a Government car and driver upon being made Chief Whip, the annual cost of which would have been around £100,000.[5]

On 29 January 2010, during the News of the World phone hacking affair, Brown said that his landline may have been bugged in 1998, around the time of his outing.[6] He was also contacted by an undisclosed police force in the West of England in 2003, who told him that they were pursuing a phone-tapping prosecution and he was one of those who may have been targeted. The case collapsed when it reached court and full details of the allegations were never disclosed. Brown said that: "Given that it was near [Prince Charles' home] Highgrove, my assumption was that this might involve the Royal Family. But I was never explicitly told that."[6]

On 29 September 2010, newly elected Labour Party leader Ed Miliband asked Brown to stand down as Chief Whip due to the need for a "break from the past".[7]

In 2014, Brown publicly opposed his party's proposal to scrap the position of Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC), citing the effectiveness of the three PCCs in the North East of England at the time.[8]

On 6 October 2016, Brown was re-appointed Labour Chief Whip, under Jeremy Corbyn, and he went on to play an important role in the Parliamentary debates and votes over Brexit during 2018 and 2019. He oversaw the largest ever defeat inflicted upon a government.[9] Brown was reappointed by Keir Starmer after the latter's victory in the 2020 Labour Party leadership election.[10] This reappointment means that Brown is the only person to have held the job three times, as well as under four different leaders and in four different decades.

Brown is a member of Labour Friends of Israel.[11]

Personal life

Brown is a holder of the freedom of the City of Newcastle upon Tyne award.[1] He is a supporter of Humanists UK[12] and an honorary associate of the National Secular Society.[13] He is known to have a love for classical music,[14] which developed during his university years. He is governor of Walker Technology College, a patron of Leeds Youth Opera and trustee of the Biscuit Factory Foundation (a Newcastle based art gallery).[2] Brown is the current chair of the all-party parliamentary group for motorcycle speedway racing.[15]

References

  1. ^ a b "Honorary Freedom of the City" (PDF). Newcastle.gov.uk. March 2020. Retrieved 29 May 2020.
  2. ^ a b "Nick Brown MP biography". Nick Brown MP. Retrieved 29 March 2020.
  3. ^ "Nicholas Brown - Parliamentary candidates". Ukpolitics.telegraph.co.uk. Archived from the original on 1 August 2012. Retrieved 29 February 2012.
  4. ^ Rayner, Gordon; Swaine, Jon (19 May 2009). "MPs' expenses: Nick Brown claims £18,800 for food without receipts". The Telegraph. London. Archived from the original on 2 February 2011. Retrieved 2 April 2018.
  5. ^ Green, William (12 May 2009). "MPs' expenses: North East Minister opens up". Evening Chronicle. Newcastle upon Tyne. Archived from the original on 5 January 2010. Retrieved 29 February 2012.
  6. ^ a b Milmo, Cahal (29 January 2011). "My landline was bugged as papers tried to 'out' me, says Nick Brown". The Independent. London. Archived from the original on 29 January 2011. Retrieved 29 January 2011.
  7. ^ "Ed Miliband asks chief whip Nick Brown to step aside". BBC News. 29 September 2010. Archived from the original on 23 February 2012. Retrieved 29 February 2012.
  8. ^ Walker, Jonathan (17 October 2014). "Labour MP Nick brown Urges Party Not to Scrap Police and Crime Commissioners". Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner.
  9. ^ Bush, Stephen (13 October 2016). "Watch out Corbynsceptics, Nick Brown is Coming to Get You". The New Statesman. London. Archived from the original on 27 March 2019. Retrieved 23 January 2019.
  10. ^ Bartlett, Nicola; Bloom, Dan; Milne, Oliver (6 April 2020). "Keir Starmer's new Labour shadow cabinet unveiled LIVE - with Corbyn allies out". Mirror. Retrieved 6 April 2020.
  11. ^ "LFI Supporters in Parliament". Labour Friends of Israel. Archived from the original on 2 October 2019. Retrieved 8 September 2019.
  12. ^ "Rt Hon Nick Brown MP". humanism.org.uk. 22 October 2013. Archived from the original on 7 April 2017. Retrieved 6 April 2017.
  13. ^ "National Secular Society Honorary Associates". National Secular Society. Retrieved 26 August 2019.
  14. ^ Hencke, David (3 October 2008). "Government reshuffle: Profile: Nick Brown". The Guardian.
  15. ^ [publications.parliament.uk]

External links

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Mike Thomas
Member of Parliament
for Newcastle upon Tyne East
Newcastle upon Tyne East and Wallsend (19972010)

1983–present
Incumbent
Political offices
Preceded by
Margaret Beckett
Shadow Leader of the House of Commons
Acting

1994
Succeeded by
Margaret Beckett
Preceded by
Alastair Goodlad
Chief Whip of the House of Commons
1997–1998
Succeeded by
Ann Taylor
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury
1997–1998
Preceded by
Jack Cunningham
Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food
1998–2001
Succeeded by
Margaret Beckett
as Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
New office Minister of State for Work
2001–2003
Succeeded by
Des Browne
Preceded by
Bob Ainsworth
Deputy Chief Whip of the House of Commons
2007—2008
Succeeded by
Tommy McAvoy
Treasurer of the Household
2007—2008
New office Minister for the North East
2007–2010
Position abolished
Preceded by
Geoff Hoon
Chief Whip of the House of Commons
2008–2010
Succeeded by
Patrick McLoughlin
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury
2008–2010
Preceded by
Patrick McLoughlin
Shadow Chief Whip of the House of Commons
2010
Succeeded by
Rosie Winterton
Preceded by
Rosie Winterton
Shadow Chief Whip of the House of Commons
2016–present
Incumbent
Party political offices
Preceded by
Donald Dewar
Labour Chief Whip of the House of Commons
1997–1998
Succeeded by
Ann Taylor
Preceded by
Bob Ainsworth
Labour Deputy Chief Whip of the House of Commons
2007—2008
Succeeded by
Tommy McAvoy
Preceded by
Geoff Hoon
Labour Chief Whip of the House of Commons
2008—2010
Succeeded by
Rosie Winterton
Preceded by
Rosie Winterton
Labour Chief Whip of the House of Commons
2016—present
Incumbent
Retrieved from "[en.wikipedia.org]"