Jack Cunningham, Baron Cunningham of Felling

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For other people named Jack Cunningham, see Jack Cunningham (disambiguation).
The Right Honourable
The Lord Cunningham of Felling
PC DL
Minister for the Cabinet Office
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
In office
27 July 1998 – 11 October 1999
Prime Minister Tony Blair
Preceded by David Clark
Succeeded by Mo Mowlam
Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food
In office
2 May 1997 – 27 July 1998
Prime Minister Tony Blair
Preceded by Douglas Hogg
Succeeded by Nick Brown
Shadow Secretary of State for National Heritage
In office
19 October 1995 – 2 May 1997
Leader Tony Blair
Preceded by Chris Smith
Succeeded by Virginia Bottomley
Shadow Secretary of State for Trade and Industry
In office
20 October 1994 – 19 October 1995
Leader Tony Blair
Preceded by Robin Cook
Succeeded by Margaret Beckett
Shadow Foreign Secretary
In office
24 July 1992 – 20 October 1994
Leader John Smith
Preceded by Gerald Kaufman
Succeeded by Robin Cook
Shadow Leader of the House of Commons
In office
2 November 1989 – 24 July 1992
Leader Neil Kinnock
Preceded by Frank Dobson
Succeeded by Margaret Beckett
Shadow Secretary of State for the Environment
In office
2 October 1983 – 2 November 1989
Leader Neil Kinnock
Preceded by Gerald Kaufman
Succeeded by Bryan Gould
Member of Parliament
for Copeland
In office
9 June 1983 – 5 May 2005
Preceded by Constituency Created
Succeeded by Jamie Reed
Member of Parliament
for Whitehaven
In office
18 June 1970 – 9 June 1983
Preceded by Joseph Bede Symonds
Succeeded by Constituency abolished
Personal details
Born (1939-08-04) 4 August 1939 (age 74)
Durham, United Kingdom
Political party Labour (suspended)[1]
Alma mater College of St Hild and St Bede

John "Jack" Anderson Cunningham, Baron Cunningham of Felling, PC, DL (born 4 August 1939) is a British politician who was the Labour Member of Parliament for Copeland from 1983 to 2005, and had served in the Cabinet of Tony Blair. Cunningham was suspended from the Labour Party whip, and the party, in June 2013 pending an investigation over claims he had offered to work for lobbyists.[1]

Early life[edit]

He was educated at Jarrow Grammar School (now Jarrow School) in the same class as Doug McAvoy, future general secretary of the National Union of Teachers. Cunningham then studied at Bede College of Durham University, receiving a BSc in Chemistry in 1962, and a PhD in 1967. He stayed at the university to become a research fellow from 1966-8, whilst working as an officer for the General and Municipal Workers' Union.

His father was Andrew Cunningham, leader of the Labour Party in the Northern Region in the 1970s, who was disgraced in the 1974 Poulson scandal. Dr Cunningham was first elected as member for Whitehaven in 1970; and the renamed Copeland constituency, which was the same constituency as Whitehaven, in 1983.

He was a district councillor for Chester-le-Street Rural & Parish Council, prior to becoming an MP and continued to live in the Garden Farm area of the town, bringing up his family there.

Shadow Cabinet and in government[edit]

Cunningham joined the Shadow Cabinet in 1983, and ran the Labour Party's general election campaign in 1992. He also appeared on many television Election programmes as one of the main spokesmen of the Party.

After the 1997 general election, he became Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food and embarked on a modernisation programme for the Ministry, loosening its hitherto fierce loyalty to the producer interest, and emphasizing its duty to the consumer.[citation needed] He worked hard to secure the lifting of the European Union ban on the export of UK beef, and achieved some limited success on this.[citation needed] He also paved the way for the creation of the disputably independent Food Standards Agency.[citation needed]

He was moved in 1998 to Minister for the Cabinet Office and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. The media dubbed him cabinet enforcer, claiming that his role was effectively to sell the Government and its policies to the public and the media.[citation needed] Although there was some truth in this,[citation needed] he also led the government's work on modernising government, and chaired the Ministerial Committee on genetically-modified foods and crops.

He retired from the Cabinet in 1999, and became an influential[citation needed] backbencher. He stood down from parliament at the 2005 general election.

Having represented the parliamentary constituency that includes Sellafield, the UK's largest nuclear facility, for 35 years, he is a strong proponent of nuclear power and is the founding European legislative chairman of the Transatlantic Nuclear Energy Forum.

Personal life[edit]

On 13 May 2005 it was announced that he would be created a life peer, and he was created Baron Cunningham of Felling, of Felling in the County of Tyne and Wear, on 27 June. He had previously been Rt Hon Dr Jack Cunningham, so following his enoblement he uses the style, Rt Hon Lord Cunningham of Felling, PC DL PhD.

Lord Cunningham of Felling is still active in politics and chairs an all-party parliamentary committee to review the powers of the House of Lords.

He lives with his wife near Stocksfield, in Northumberland and is an avid fly fisherman. He married Maureen Appleby in 1964 in Durham. They have one son and two daughters.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Rajeev Syal "Labour peers stripped of party whip over lobbying allegations", guardian.co.uk, 2 June 2013

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Joseph Symonds
Member of Parliament for Whitehaven
19701983
Constituency abolished
New constituency Member of Parliament for Copeland
19832005
Succeeded by
Jamie Reed
Political offices
Preceded by
Gerald Kaufman
Shadow Foreign Secretary
1992–1994
Succeeded by
Robin Cook
Preceded by
Douglas Hogg
Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food
1997–1998
Succeeded by
Nick Brown
Preceded by
David Clark
Minister for the Cabinet Office
1998–1999
Succeeded by
Mo Mowlam
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
1998–1999