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Des Browne

Des Browne

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Desmond Henry Browne, Baron Browne of Ladyton (born 22 March 1952) is a British
British people
The British are citizens of the United Kingdom, of the Isle of Man, any of the Channel Islands, or of any of the British overseas territories, and their descendants...

 Labour Party
Labour Party (UK)
The Labour Party is a centre-left democratic socialist party in the United Kingdom. It surpassed the Liberal Party in general elections during the early 1920s, forming minority governments under Ramsay MacDonald in 1924 and 1929-1931. The party was in a wartime coalition from 1940 to 1945, after...

 politician
Politician
A politician, political leader, or political figure is an individual who is involved in influencing public policy and decision making...

 who was the Member of Parliament
Member of Parliament
A Member of Parliament is a representative of the voters to a :parliament. In many countries with bicameral parliaments, the term applies specifically to members of the lower house, as upper houses often have a different title, such as senate, and thus also have different titles for its members,...

 (MP) for Kilmarnock and Loudoun
Kilmarnock and Loudoun (UK Parliament constituency)
Kilmarnock and Loudoun is a county constituency of the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It elects one Member of Parliament , using the first-past-the-post voting system.-Boundaries:...

 from 1997
United Kingdom general election, 1997
The United Kingdom general election, 1997 was held on 1 May 1997, more than five years after the previous election on 9 April 1992, to elect 659 members to the British House of Commons. The Labour Party ended its 18 years in opposition under the leadership of Tony Blair, and won the general...

 to 2010. He was a member of the Cabinet of the United Kingdom
Cabinet of the United Kingdom
The Cabinet of the United Kingdom is the collective decision-making body of Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom, composed of the Prime Minister and some 22 Cabinet Ministers, the most senior of the government ministers....

 under Tony Blair
Tony Blair
Anthony Charles Lynton Blair is a former British Labour Party politician who served as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 2 May 1997 to 27 June 2007. He was the Member of Parliament for Sedgefield from 1983 to 2007 and Leader of the Labour Party from 1994 to 2007...

 and Gordon Brown
Gordon Brown
James Gordon Brown is a British Labour Party politician who was the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Leader of the Labour Party from 2007 until 2010. He previously served as Chancellor of the Exchequer in the Labour Government from 1997 to 2007...

, until the latter moved him from both Defence
Secretary of State for Defence
The Secretary of State for Defence, popularly known as the Defence Secretary, is the senior Government of the United Kingdom minister in charge of the Ministry of Defence, chairing the Defence Council. It is a Cabinet position...

 and Scottish Secretary
Secretary of State for Scotland
The Secretary of State for Scotland is the principal minister of Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom with responsibilities for Scotland. He heads the Scotland Office , a government department based in London and Edinburgh. The post was created soon after the Union of the Crowns, but was...

 in 2008.

Early life and education


Browne was born in Kilwinning
Kilwinning
Kilwinning is a historic town in North Ayrshire, Scotland. It is known as The Crossroads of Ayrshire. The 2001 Census recorded it as having a population of 15,908.-History:...

, North Ayrshire
North Ayrshire
North Ayrshire is one of 32 council areas in Scotland with a population of roughly 136,000 people. It is located in the south-west region of Scotland, and borders the areas of Inverclyde to the north, Renfrewshire to the north-east and East Ayrshire and South Ayrshire to the East and South...

, lived in Stevenston
Stevenston
Stevenston is a town in North Ayrshire, Scotland. It is one of the 'Three Towns' along with Ardrossan and Saltcoats.-History:The town is named after Stephan Loccard or Lockhart, whose father obtained a grant of land from Richard de Morville, Lord Cunninghame and Constable of Scotland, around 1170....

 for the early part of his life, and was educated at the Catholic St Michael's Academy in Kilwinning
Kilwinning
Kilwinning is a historic town in North Ayrshire, Scotland. It is known as The Crossroads of Ayrshire. The 2001 Census recorded it as having a population of 15,908.-History:...

 and later at the University of Glasgow
University of Glasgow
The University of Glasgow is the fourth-oldest university in the English-speaking world and one of Scotland's four ancient universities. Located in Glasgow, the university was founded in 1451 and is presently one of seventeen British higher education institutions ranked amongst the top 100 of the...

, where he received a degree
Master of Laws
The Master of Laws is an advanced academic degree, pursued by those holding a professional law degree, and is commonly abbreviated LL.M. from its Latin name, Legum Magister. The University of Oxford names its taught masters of laws B.C.L...

 in law
Scots law
Scots law is the legal system of Scotland. It is considered a hybrid or mixed legal system as it traces its roots to a number of different historical sources. With English law and Northern Irish law it forms the legal system of the United Kingdom; it shares with the two other systems some...

.

Legal career


He started his legal career in 1974 as an apprentice solicitor
Solicitor
Solicitors are lawyers who traditionally deal with any legal matter including conducting proceedings in courts. In the United Kingdom, a few Australian states and the Republic of Ireland, the legal profession is split between solicitors and barristers , and a lawyer will usually only hold one title...

 with the firm James Campbell & Co. On qualifying in 1976 he became an assistant solicitor with Ross, Harper and Murphy, and was promoted to partner in 1980. He became a partner in McCluskey Browne in 1985 and a council member of the Law Society of Scotland
Law Society of Scotland
The Law Society of Scotland is the professional governing body for Scottish solicitors.It promotes excellence among solicitors through representation, support and regulation of its members. It also promotes the interests of the public in relation to the profession...

 1988-1992. He was admitted as an advocate
Advocate
An advocate is a term for a professional lawyer used in several different legal systems. These include Scotland, South Africa, India, Scandinavian jurisdictions, Israel, and the British Crown dependencies of Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man...

 in 1993, practising at the Scottish bar until 1997. He worked mainly in child law.

Parliamentary career


Browne contested the parliamentary
Parliament of the United Kingdom
The Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is the supreme legislative body in the United Kingdom, British Crown dependencies and British overseas territories, located in London...

 seat of Argyll and Bute
Argyll and Bute (UK Parliament constituency)
Argyll and Bute is a county constituency of the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It was created for the 1983 general election, merging most of Argyll with some of Bute and Northern Ayrshire...

 at the 1992 General Election
United Kingdom general election, 1992
The United Kingdom general election of 1992 was held on 9 April 1992, and was the fourth consecutive victory for the Conservative Party. This election result was one of the biggest surprises in 20th Century politics, as polling leading up to the day of the election showed Labour under leader Neil...

, and finished in fourth place behind the sitting Liberal Democrat
Liberal Democrats
The Liberal Democrats are a social liberal political party in the United Kingdom which supports constitutional and electoral reform, progressive taxation, wealth taxation, human rights laws, cultural liberalism, banking reform and civil liberties .The party was formed in 1988 by a merger of the...

 MP Ray Michie
Ray Michie, Baroness Michie of Gallanach
Janet Ray Michie, Baroness Michie of Gallanach was a British speech therapist and Liberal Democrat politician. She served as Member of Parliament for Argyll and Bute for 14 years, from 1987 to 2001, and then became a life peer in the House of Lords...

. He was elected to the Faculty of Advocates
Faculty of Advocates
The Faculty of Advocates is an independent body of lawyers who have been admitted to practise as advocates before the courts of Scotland, especially the Court of Session and the High Court of Justiciary...

 in 1993. Browne was selected to contest the safe Labour seat of Kilmarnock and Loudoun following the retirement of the sitting MP William McKelvey
William McKelvey
William McKelvey , was the British Labour MP for Kilmarnock from 1979 to 1983 and for Kilmarnock and Loudoun from 1983 until his retirement in 1997.-References:* "Times Guide to the House of Commons", Times Newspapers Limited, 1992 edition....

. Browne won the seat at the 1997 General Election
United Kingdom general election, 1997
The United Kingdom general election, 1997 was held on 1 May 1997, more than five years after the previous election on 9 April 1992, to elect 659 members to the British House of Commons. The Labour Party ended its 18 years in opposition under the leadership of Tony Blair, and won the general...

 with a majority of 7,256. He made his maiden speech
Maiden speech
A maiden speech is the first speech given by a newly elected or appointed member of a legislature or parliament.Traditions surrounding maiden speeches vary from country to country...

 on 20 June 1997.

Browne joined the Northern Ireland Affairs Select Committee on his election, and became the Parliamentary Private Secretary
Parliamentary Private Secretary
A Parliamentary Private Secretary is a role given to a United Kingdom Member of Parliament by a senior minister in government or shadow minister to act as their contact for the House of Commons; this role is junior to that of Parliamentary Under-Secretary, which is a ministerial post, salaried by...

 (PPS) to the Secretary of State for Scotland
Secretary of State for Scotland
The Secretary of State for Scotland is the principal minister of Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom with responsibilities for Scotland. He heads the Scotland Office , a government department based in London and Edinburgh. The post was created soon after the Union of the Crowns, but was...

 Donald Dewar
Donald Dewar
Donald Campbell Dewar was a British politician who served as a Labour Party Member of Parliament in Scotland from 1966-1970, and then again from 1978 until his death in 2000. He served in Tony Blair's cabinet as Secretary of State for Scotland from 1997-1999 and was instrumental in the creation...

 in 1998. After Dewar left the Cabinet in 1999, to seek election as the First Minister of Scotland
First Minister of Scotland
The First Minister of Scotland is the political leader of Scotland and head of the Scottish Government. The First Minister chairs the Scottish Cabinet and is primarily responsible for the formulation, development and presentation of Scottish Government policy...

, Browne remained in post as PPS to the new Secretary of State John Reid
John Reid (politician)
John Reid, Baron Reid of Cardowan, PC is a British politician, who served as a Labour Party Member of Parliament and cabinet minister under Tony Blair, most notably as Defence Secretary and then Home Secretary...

. In 2000 he became the PPS to the Minister of State
Minister of State
Minister of State is a title borne by politicians or officials in certain countries governed under a parliamentary system. In some countries a "minister of state" is a junior minister, who is assigned to assist a specific cabinet minister...

 at the Northern Ireland Office
Northern Ireland Office
The Northern Ireland Office is a United Kingdom government department responsible for Northern Ireland affairs. The NIO is led by the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, and is based in Northern Ireland at Stormont House.-Role:...

.

On 27 November 2009, Browne announced his intention not seek election in the 2010 general election.

Browne currently acts as convenor of the Top Level Group of UK Parliamentarians for Multilateral Nuclear Disarmament and Non-proliferation
Top Level Group
The Top Level Group of UK Parliamentarians for Multilateral Nuclear Disarmament and Non-proliferation is a cross-party parliamentary group in the United Kingdom, whose primary focus is the advancement of the nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation agenda in Britain and internationally...

, established in October 2009.

Government Minister


After the 2001 General Election
United Kingdom general election, 2001
The United Kingdom general election, 2001 was held on Thursday 7 June 2001 to elect 659 members to the British House of Commons. It was dubbed "the quiet landslide" by the media, as the Labour Party was re-elected with another landslide result and only suffered a net loss of 6 seats...

 Browne entered Tony Blair's
Tony Blair
Anthony Charles Lynton Blair is a former British Labour Party politician who served as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 2 May 1997 to 27 June 2007. He was the Member of Parliament for Sedgefield from 1983 to 2007 and Leader of the Labour Party from 1994 to 2007...

 government as the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Northern Ireland Office
Northern Ireland Office
The Northern Ireland Office is a United Kingdom government department responsible for Northern Ireland affairs. The NIO is led by the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, and is based in Northern Ireland at Stormont House.-Role:...

. He was promoted to Minister of State at the Department for Work and Pensions
Department for Work and Pensions
The Department for Work and Pensions is the largest government department in the United Kingdom, created on June 8, 2001 from the merger of the employment part of the Department for Education and Employment and the Department of Social Security and headed by the Secretary of State for Work and...

 in 2003, before moving to the Home Office
Home Office
The Home Office is the United Kingdom government department responsible for immigration control, security, and order. As such it is responsible for the police, UK Border Agency, and the Security Service . It is also in charge of government policy on security-related issues such as drugs,...

 in 2004 as the minister with responsibility for immigration
Immigration
Immigration is the act of foreigners passing or coming into a country for the purpose of permanent residence...

. He joined the Cabinet following the 2005 General Election
United Kingdom general election, 2005
The United Kingdom general election of 2005 was held on Thursday, 5 May 2005 to elect 646 members to the British House of Commons. The Labour Party under Tony Blair won its third consecutive victory, but with a majority of 66, reduced from 160....

 as the Chief Secretary to the Treasury
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
The Chief Secretary to the Treasury is the third most senior ministerial position in HM Treasury, after the Prime Minister and the Chancellor of the Exchequer . In recent years, the office holder has usually been given a junior position in the British Cabinet...

 and became a Member of the Privy Council
Privy Council of the United Kingdom
Her Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council, usually known simply as the Privy Council, is a formal body of advisers to the Sovereign in the United Kingdom...

.

Browne was appointed Secretary of State for Defence
Secretary of State for Defence
The Secretary of State for Defence, popularly known as the Defence Secretary, is the senior Government of the United Kingdom minister in charge of the Ministry of Defence, chairing the Defence Council. It is a Cabinet position...

 on 5 May 2006. An advocate of the UK Trident programme
UK Trident programme
The UK Trident programme is the United Kingdom's Trident missile-based nuclear weapons programme. Under the programme, the Royal Navy operates 58 nuclear-armed Trident II D-5 submarine-launched ballistic missiles and around 200 nuclear warheads on 4 Vanguard-class ballistic missile submarines from...

, in 2007 he successfully persuaded Parliament to vote to replace Trident. He came under criticism, however, after allowing the Royal Navy personnel captured by Iran in spring 2007
2007 Iranian seizure of Royal Navy personnel
Iranian military personnel seized 15 Royal Navy personnel during 2007 and held them for 13 days. On 23 March 2007, 15 British Royal Navy personnel, from HMS Cornwall, searching a merchant vessel were surrounded by the Navy of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards and subsequently detained off the...

 to sell and publish their stories. Under Tony Blair
Tony Blair
Anthony Charles Lynton Blair is a former British Labour Party politician who served as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 2 May 1997 to 27 June 2007. He was the Member of Parliament for Sedgefield from 1983 to 2007 and Leader of the Labour Party from 1994 to 2007...

's premiership, Browne was considered a supporter of the Chancellor of the Exchequer
Chancellor of the Exchequer
The Chancellor of the Exchequer is the title held by the British Cabinet minister who is responsible for all economic and financial matters. Often simply called the Chancellor, the office-holder controls HM Treasury and plays a role akin to the posts of Minister of Finance or Secretary of the...

 Gordon Brown
Gordon Brown
James Gordon Brown is a British Labour Party politician who was the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Leader of the Labour Party from 2007 until 2010. He previously served as Chancellor of the Exchequer in the Labour Government from 1997 to 2007...

. He received the additional responsibilities of Secretary of State for Scotland
Secretary of State for Scotland
The Secretary of State for Scotland is the principal minister of Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom with responsibilities for Scotland. He heads the Scotland Office , a government department based in London and Edinburgh. The post was created soon after the Union of the Crowns, but was...

 in June 2007 after Brown became Prime Minister.

In a free parliamentary vote on 20 May 2008, Browne voted for cutting the upper limit for abortions from 24 to 12 weeks, along with two other Catholic cabinet ministers Ruth Kelly
Ruth Kelly
Ruth Maria Kelly is a British Labour Party politician of Irish descent who was the Member of Parliament for Bolton West from 1997 until she stood down in 2010...

 and Paul Murphy. He returned to the backbenches in October 2008 following a cabinet reshuffle.

Browne gave evidence to the Iraq Inquiry on January 25, 2010.

Activities post-government


Browne is convener of the European Leadership Network for Multilateral Nuclear Disarmament and Non-proliferation. He is also the convener of the Top Level Group or UK Parliamentarians for Multilateral Nuclear Disarmament and Nonproliferation.

Des Browne is a signatory of Global Zero (campaign)
Global Zero (campaign)
Global Zero is an international initiative launched in December 2008 to promote the elimination of nuclear weapons. It proposes a phased withdrawal and verification for the destruction of all devices held by official and unofficial members of the nuclear club...

, a non-profit international initiative for the elimination of all nuclear weapons worldwide. Since its launch in Paris in December 2008, Global Zero (campaign)
Global Zero (campaign)
Global Zero is an international initiative launched in December 2008 to promote the elimination of nuclear weapons. It proposes a phased withdrawal and verification for the destruction of all devices held by official and unofficial members of the nuclear club...

 has grown to 300 leaders, including current and former heads of state, national security officials and military commanders, and 400,000 citizens worldwide; developed a practical step-by-step plan to eliminate nuclear weapons; launched an international student campaign with 75 campus chapters in eight countries; and produced an acclaimed documentary film, Countdown to Zero
Countdown to Zero
Countdown to Zero is a documentary film released in 2010 which argues that the likelihood of the use of nuclear weapons has increased since the end of the Cold War due to terrorism, nuclear proliferation, theft of nuclear materials and weapons, and other factors.The documentary film was set for a...

, in partnership with Lawrence Bender
Lawrence Bender
Lawrence Bender is an American film producer. He rose to fame by producing Reservoir Dogs in 1992 and has since produced all of Quentin Tarantino's films with the exception of Death Proof....

 and Participant Media.

Controversy over appointment as envoy to Sri Lanka


In February 2009, Browne was appointed by PM Brown as the government's special envoy to Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka, officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka is a country off the southern coast of the Indian subcontinent. Known until 1972 as Ceylon , Sri Lanka is an island surrounded by the Indian Ocean, the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Strait, and lies in the vicinity of India and the...

. However, the government of Mahinda Rajapaksa
Mahinda Rajapaksa
Percy Mahendra "Mahinda" Rajapaksa ; ; born November 18, 1945) is the 6th and current President of Sri Lanka and Commander in Chief of the Sri Lankan Armed Forces. A lawyer by profession, Rajapaksa was first elected to the Parliament of Sri Lanka in 1970, and served as prime minister from April 6,...

, fighting the LTTE rebel group, rejected Browne's appointment, stating that the British government made the appointment unilaterally, without consultation with the Sri Lankan government.

External links



Offices held



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