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Chief Whip - Geoff Hoon

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

He became a minister in the Lord Chancellor's department in 1997.

After a short stint as a foreign office minister, he was catapulted in to the Cabinet for a six-year spell as defence secretary, which included the US-led invasion of Iraq and its immediate aftermath.

He became embroiled in the Hutton Inquiry with the spotlight on his actions in relation to MoD scientist Dr David Kelly in the days before his death.

He took on a lower profile when becoming Commons leader in 2005 and a year later was moved out of Cabinet to become Europe minister. He returned to Cabinet as Chief Whip in Gordon Brown's first Cabinet in 2007 at the age of 53.

Geoff Hoon

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