Nick Brown

From Academic Kids

This article is about Nick Brown the British politician. For information on the British tennis player and coach of the same name, see Nick Brown (tennis player).


The Right Honourable Nicholas "Nick" Brown (born June 13, 1950) is a British Labour Party politician and Member of Parliament for Newcastle upon Tyne East and Wallsend. He was the last Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food.

Brown was brought up in Tunbridge Wells and studied at the University of Manchester. After leaving university he worked in advertising for Procter and Gamble, but in 1978 he moved to be Legal adviser to the Northern Region of the GMBATU, based in Newcastle upon Tyne. In 1980 he was elected to Newcastle City Council. His role in the union gave him a role in maximising the union's influence in Labour Party selections.

When Mike Thomas, the sitting Labour MP for Newcastle-upon-Tyne East, defected to the SDP, he was chosen as the new Labour Party candidate, and easily kept the seat in the 1983 general election. He went on to the Labour front bench in 1985 as a spokesman on Legal Affairs; from 1988 he was a Treasury spokesman and from 1994 he shadowed Health.

In 1995 he was appointed Deputy Chief Whip and played a central role in the close Parliament in trying to defeat the Conservatives. After Labour's election victory in 1997, he was appointed Chief Whip, but stayed there only for a year, moving to the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food in 1998. This move was widely seen as a demotion, ascribed to his close connection (though the two are unrelated) with Gordon Brown. Not long after this, he was forced by the News of the World newspaper in 1998 to announce that he is gay.

His tenure at MAFF saw several animal health crises ending with the foot and mouth crisis of 2001. Brown became inevitably linked with the scandal, and although the conclusion that a vaccination strategy should have been practised was not made until later, it was generally recognised that he had made mistakes. He was demoted out of the Cabinet to be Minister of Work at the Department of Work and Pensions after the general election. In June 2003, he was dropped from the Government.

Brown remained closely allied to Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown. In 2004 he was one of the organisers of a rebellion over the government's proposals for student finance, but hours before the vote announced that he had received concessions from the Government and would now support it. It was suspected that the Chancellor had ordered him to back down, but the affair cost him some credibility.

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Preceded by:
Jack Cunningham
Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food
1998-2001
Followed by:
Office Replaced


see: Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

sv:Nick Brown
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