The Rt Hon Jack Straw is one of three senior Ministers to remain in Cabinet throughout the 1997 to 2010 Labour Government. He served as 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). He was Member of Parliament for Blackburn from 1979 to 7 May 2015, when he retired from the Commons.
Before becoming an MP, Jack practiced as a Barrister, and then worked as a Special Adviser in the Labour Government of 1974 to 1979. He served on the Opposition Front Bench from 1980 to 1997.
Appointed Foreign Secretary in 2001, Jack played a leading role in the dramatic foreign policy problems arising from the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York and the resulting interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq. He was instrumental in helping avoid an extremely dangerous armed conflict between India and Pakistan over Kashmir in 2002. He was a member of the European Council for five years. In 2005 he led successful efforts to open formal EU membership negotiations with Turkey. He is co-Chairman of the government-sponsored British-Turkish Forum. He was given the Order of the Republic of Turkey by President Abdullah Gül in 2012.
With his French and German counterparts, Jack initiated the “E3” (later “E3+3”) negotiations with Iran over their nuclear programme, and has taken a close interest in Iran ever since, having visited it eight times.
He is a Visiting Professor at University College London School of Public Policy. Since 2015 he has been Chairman of the Blackburn Youth Zone, and from 2017 a Trustee of the Tauheedul Education Trust. He is a Trustee of the Global Strategy Forum, and of the Atlantic Partnership.
His publications include: ‘Last Man Standing: Memoirs of a Political Survivor’ (Macmillan: 2012); Hamlyn Lectures 2012 on Law Reform (CUP).