Nick Brown has been the Member of Parliament for Newcastle East for 37 years. He was first elected to Parliament in 1983 and has held the seat since.
Nick was born in Hawkhurst, Kent, and educated at Tunbridge Wells Technical High School. Following graduation from the University of Manchester he worked in the advertising department of Proctor and Gamble in Newcastle upon Tyne (1974-75). He then worked for a Newcastle-based dry-cleaning company (1976-78), and in the Northern Region of the General and Municipal Worker’s Union (as it then was) from 1978 to 1983, as the region’s research officer, and later the legal officer. He was elected to Newcastle City Council in 1980-84 for the Walker Ward of Newcastle East.
After his election to Parliament in 1983 Nick held a number of roles in Labour’s opposition years including spokesperson on legal affairs from 1985 to 1988. He then joined the opposition Treasury Team from 1988 to 1992, first under John Smith, then under Gordon Brown. Nick also deputised for Margaret Beckett in her role as Shadow Leader of the House of Commons. Following the death of John Smith, and the election of Tony Blair as leader of the Labour Party, Nick served as Shadow Minister for Health under Margaret Beckett. In 1995 he was appointed Deputy Chief Whip under Donald Dewar.
After Labour’s election victory in 1997 he was appointed Government Chief Whip and was made a Privy Councillor. In 1998 he was appointed Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food where he managed the foot-and-mouth outbreak in livestock. In 2001 he was appointed the Minister for Work at the Department for Work and Pensions, under Secretaries of State Alistair Darling, and then Andrew Smith. From June 2003 to June 2007 Nick was a backbench MP.
Following the election of Gordon Brown as Leader of the Labour Party, Nick returned to Government as Deputy Chief Whip, Minister for the North East and Treasurer of the Household in 2007. In October 2008 Nick was again made Labour Party Chief Whip, a post he held until the autumn of 2010. Following a 6-year return to the backbenches, Nick was again appointed as Labour’s Chief Whip under the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn. Following his reappointment to the same role by Sir Keir Starmer, Nick is now serving as Labour’s Chief Whip for a fourth time.
Outside of Parliament, Nick was very proud to be awarded the freedom of the city of Newcastle in 2001. He is a patron of Leeds Youth Opera, the only youth opera in the country run by volunteers.
From 2012 Nick has been a Non-Executive Director of the Mariinsky Theatre Trust (the Anglo-Russian friendship organisation that supports the work of the Mariinsky Theatre in the UK), a Trustee of the Biscuit Factory Foundation (a Newcastle based arts gallery) and is Chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Motorcycle Speedway.