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Secretary of State for Defence - Des Browne

Des Browne has always been seen as close to Gordon Brown. The Scottish solicitor, then 45, was part of the 1997 intake of Labour MPs and was PPS to the late Donald Dewar in his final year as Scottish secretary.

Seen as a safe pair of hands, he was made a parliamentary secretary to the Northern Ireland Office after the 2001 election, and work and pensions minister in the June 2003 reshuffle.

He took over as immigration minister after Beverley Hughes stepped down in April 2004 in the wake of reports of lax visa checks on Romanian and Bulgarian immigrants.

A year later he moved to the Treasury, and in 2006 he took over from John Reid as Secretary of State for Defence. In that role he suffered criticism after a Navy search team were detained by Iranian forces and paraded on television.

He had to apologise and say he regretted a subsequent decision to allow the British personnel to sell their stories to newspapers.

Despite pressure on him he survived that controversy and he was the only Cabinet minister to stay in their job in Gordon Brown's first Cabinet in June 2007. He was also given the extra responsibility of the Scotland portfolio.

Des Browne


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