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Thursday, 17 October, 2002, 10:22 GMT 11:22 UK
John Reid
John Reid

Date of birth

8 May 1947

Political profile

John Reid is one of Tony Blair's most trusted ministers and his appointment as health secretary in June 2003 took him into his fourth cabinet job in less than a year.

A hard political fighter and tough negotiator, he has demonstrated a capacity for non-dogmatic adaptability and reliability in a variety of different ministerial roles.

He was tipped for success from his first election to the Commons in 1987.

He already had a very strong background in Labour, having worked on the party's behalf for the whole of his career, including a stint as assistant to Neil Kinnock.

He soon became a defence spokesman, in which capacity he spent seven years in opposition before joining the Ministry of Defence when Labour came to power in 1997.

He was regarded as largely responsible for the Strategic Defence Review, and was landed with the political hot potato of minister for transport in 1998.

He impressed Tony Blair with his tough approach, and joined the cabinet as Scottish secretary after the establishment of the Scottish Parliament.

After Peter Mandelson's second fall, he became Northern Ireland Secretary.

He moved from the province shortly after being forced to suspend devolution in October 2002. His trouble-shooting skills were turned instead to more purely political questions, as Tony Blair appointed him Labour Party Chairman and Minister without Portfolio.

In March 2003, he was given his fourth different Cabinet role, when he was appointed Leader of the House of Commons following Robin Cook's resignation.

And less than three months later he became health secretary when Alan Milburn quit the government.

Contact

020 7219 4118

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