Labour MP and Patron of Humanists UK
Nick Brown was born in Hawkhurst, Kent, and educated at Tunbridge Wells Technical High School, and then at the University of Manchester. After graduation, he worked in the advertising department of Proctor and Gamble in Newcastle upon Tyne (1974-75). He then worked for a Newcastle-based dry-cleaning company (1976-78), and in the Northern Region of the General and Municipal Worker’s Union (as it then was) from 1978 to 1983, as the region’s research officer, and later the legal officer. He was elected to Newcastle City Council in 1980-83 for the Walker Ward of Newcastle East.
He was first elected to Parliament in 1983 and he has been an MP ever since (for Newcastle upon Tyne East 1983-97, for Newcastle upon Tyne East and Wallsend 1997-2010, and for Newcastle upon Tyne East since May 2010) . In 1985-87 he was opposition spokesman on legal affairs. From 1987 to 1994 he was a member of the opposition Treasury Team, has served as Shadow Minister for Health under Margaret Beckett, and in 1995 he was appointed Deputy Chief Whip and then, after Labour’s election victory in 1997, was appointed Government Chief Whip. In 1998 he was appointed Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food. In 2001 he was appointed the Minister for Work at the Department for Work and Pensions, under Secretaries of State Alistair Darling, and then Andrew Smith. From June 2003 to June 2007 he was a back-bench MP and then after the election of Gordon Brown as leader of the Labour Party returned to Government as Deputy Chief Whip, Minister for the North East and Treasurer of the Household. In October 2008 Nick was again made Government Chief Whip, and returned to the Cabinet.
He has been a member of Select Committees on Broadcasting, Selection, and Administration, of Joint Committees on the Draft Financial Services Bill and the Draft Communications Data Bill and of the Speaker’s Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority.
In 1997 he was made a Privy Councillor and in 2001 he was awarded the freedom of the city of Newcastle. He is a governor of Walker Technology College and a patron of Leeds Youth Opera.
His other roles have included: Opposition Frontbench Spokesperson for Legal Affairs 1985-92, Treasury and Economic Affairs 1988-94; Deputy to Margaret Beckett as Shadow Leader of the Commons 1992-94; Opposition Spokesperson for Health 1994-95; Opposition Deputy Chief Whip 1995-97; Government Chief Whip 1997-98; Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food 1998-2001; Minister of State for Work, Department of Work and Pensions 2001-03; Deputy Government Chief Whip 2007-08; Minister for the North East 2007-10; Government Chief Whip 2008-10; Shadow Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Opposition Chief Whip 2010; and Shadow Chief Whip 2016-present.