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Monday, 21 October, 2002, 17:14 GMT 18:14 UK
Geoff Hoon

Date of birth

6 December 1953

Political profile

Geoff Hoon is one of Tony Blair's most trusted ministers and has enjoyed a rapid rise since he entered the Commons in 1992.

Originally a barrister and also an MEP until 1994, he has long been a strong supporter of Labour modernisation and is one of the most pro-European ministers in the government.

He is a particularly strong supporter of the social policy aspects of the European treaties.

He was responsible for devising a procedural amendment which led the Major government to immense embarrassment over the Maastricht bill, by forcing a separate vote on the social chapter.

An intelligent and able debater he became a minister in the Lord Chancellor's department in 1997.

He was tipped for rapid promotion, but lost out on the role of paymaster general when Lord Irvine was allegedly unwilling to let him go.

But after a short stint as a foreign office minister, he was catapulted in to the Cabinet as defence secretary, following George Robertson's appointment to NATO.

He has used his calm skills to tread a careful line on such controversial issues as the EU Rapid Reaction Force and British participation in National Missile Defence, as well as overseeing British forces in military action in Afghanistan.

Contact

geoff-hoon-mp@new.labour.org.uk

Constituency office 01623 720399

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