Geoff Hoon

Geoff Hoon

Infobox Minister
honorific-prefix = The Right Honourable
name = Geoff Hoon
honorific-suffix = MP

imagesize = 150px
office = Secretary of State for Transport
term_start = 3 October 2008
term_end =
primeminister = Gordon Brown
predecessor = Ruth Kelly
successor = Incumbent
office2 = Chief Whip
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury
term_start2 = 28 June 2007
term_end2 = 3 October 2008
primeminister2 = Gordon Brown
predecessor2 = Jacqui Smith
successor2 = Nick Brown
office3 = Minister of State for Europe
term_start3 = 6 May 2006
term_end3 = 27 June 2007
primeminister3 = Tony Blair
predecessor3 = Douglas Alexander
successor3 = Jim Murphy
office4 = Leader of the House of Commons
and Lord Privy Seal

term_start4 = 5 May 2005
term_end4 = 6 May 2006
primeminister4 = Tony Blair
predecessor4 = Peter Hain
successor4 = Jack Straw
office5 = Secretary of State for Defence
term_start5 = 11 October 1999
term_end5 = 5 May 2005
primeminister5 = Tony Blair
predecessor5 = George Robertson
successor5 = John Reid
constituency_MP6 = Ashfield
majority6 = 10,213 (24.3%)
predecessor6 = Frank Haynes
successor6 =
term_start6 = 9 April 1992
term_end6 =
birth_date =Birth date and age|1953|12|06|df=yes
birth_place =Derby, UK
death_date =
death_place =
nationality =British
party =Labour
spouse =Elaine Anne Dumelow
relations =
children =
alma_mater =Jesus College, Cambridge
occupation =
profession =
religion = Church of England

website =
footnotes =

Geoffrey 'Geoff' William Hoon (born 6 December 1953) is a British politician. He is Labour Member of Parliament for Ashfield, as well as former Labour Chief Whip and Permanent Secretary to the Treasury. In Gordon Brown's cabinet reshuffle of 3 October 2008, Hoon was promoted to be Secretary of State for Transport on the resignation of Ruth Kelly from the post.

Early life

Geoff Hoon was born in Derby, England, the son of railwayman Ernest (who also saw action in the RAF in World War Two, serving in India and Burma) and June Collett. He was educated at the independent Nottingham High School (joining the CCF from 1967-70 - few recent Labour politicians have had any type of military experience). Before university, he worked as a labourer in a furniture factory for a year from 1972-3, then went to read law at Jesus College, Cambridge – being the first in his family to go to university – gaining his BA in 1974, followed by a master's degree. He was a law lecturer at the University of Leeds from 1976 until 1982, and was a warden at the all-male Devonshire Hall. He was called to the Bar at Gray's Inn in 1978, and was also a visiting law professor at the University of Louisville, Kentucky from 1980-1. He became a practising barrister for two years in 1982, in Nottingham.

He claims to be "not very politically correct", especially with his blunt and forthright views on female colleagues or the role of women in the armed forces.

Member of Parliament

Hoon was elected as a Member of the European Parliament for Derbyshire in 1984 and served in Brussels and Strasbourg for ten years. He was elected as a member of the British House of Commons at the 1992 general election for Ashfield following the retirement of the sitting Labour MP Frank Haynes. Hoon held the seat with a majority of 12,987 and has remained the MP there since, making his maiden speech on 20 May 1992. His notorious skill is 'stonewalling' - deflecting difficult questions by 'playing a straight bat', or appearing to do so.

hadow Cabinet and in government

In Parliament, he was promoted by John Smith in 1994 when he was appointed as an opposition whip, and in 1995 he joined the frontbench team as a spokesman on Trade and Industry. Following the 1997 general election he became a member of the government of Tony Blair as the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Lord Chancellor's Department, being promoted to the rank of Minister of State in the same department in 1998. In 1999, he was briefly a minister at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, before entering the cabinet later in the year as the Secretary of State for Defence. He became a member of the Privy Council in 1999. He served as the Lord Privy Seal and the Leader of the House of Commons from the 2005 general election until 5 May 2006. He was appointed on that day as Minister for Europe.

ecretary of State for Defence

Hoon was in charge of the MoD during a period of massive deployments of British troops, including;
*2000 - Operation Palliser - Sierra Leone
*2001 - Exercise Saif Sareea II - Oman
*2001 - Operation Veritas - Afghanistan
*2003 - Operation Telic - Iraq

Like many who have held the office before him Hoon was forced to make some difficult defence procurement decisions. The MoD is committed to competitive procurement and operates perhaps the most open defence procurement process in the world.Fact|date=February 2007 The adherence to this policy caused significant friction between the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and its largest supplier, BAE Systems. Hoon, and the MoD as a whole, refused the company's arguments that it should be treated as a "national champion." BAE have been accused of demanding contracts, e.g. the Type 45 destroyers. Recent events have demonstrated that the MoD will not entertain such practices, following the delays to the Nimrod MRA4 maritime patrol jet and Astute class submarine projects BAE was force to write off £750m against the contracts.

In a 2003 interview on the BBC's "Breakfast with Frost", Hoon asserted that the UK was willing to use nuclear weapons against Iraqi forces "in the right circumstances."cite news |date=2003-02-23 |url= |title=UK restates nuclear threat |work=BBC News] Geoff Hoon, [ interview] by David Frost, "Breakfast with Frost", BBC, 23 February 2003.]

Comment on Geoff Hoon's public persona has varied wildly from that of non-descript minister to a capable Defence Secretary and a "safe pair of hands" during and shortly after the 2003 Iraq War, to adjectives such as "slippery" and "dishonest" during the Dr. David Kelly Affair. The label "Geoff Who?" was applied by many national newspapers and he was given the joke nickname "Buff" (buffoon). He was widely expected to resign on the publication of the resulting Hutton Report. Whilst many were not surprised by the absence of any claim of wrong-doing on Tony Blair's behalf there was widespread disbelief that both Hoon and his Permanent Secretary, Sir Kevin Tebbit, were also completely cleared of any impropriety.fact|date=September 2008 Hutton concluded that there was no "underhand" strategy in the naming of Kelly but that the Ministry of Defence failed to inform and advise him of the effects his name entering the public domain. Hoon was unpopular throughout the Armed Forces, who considered him to be an advocate of unnecessary change and accused him of weakening the Forces. In particular, the then Chief of the Defence Staff, Admiral Sir Michael Boyce, publicly accused Hoon of neglecting morale and efficiency in his policies.fact|date=September 2008 The military's low opinion of him was long-standing and dated back to his handling of the Chinook helicopter crash on the Mull of Kintyre.

On 23 June 2003 MP Geoff Hoon continued to claim that two trailers found in Iraq were mobile weapons laboratories.cite web |date=23 June 2003| url = | title = Hansard - Written Answers - Column 696 | publisher = House of Commons Hansard | accessdate = 2008-01-16 | last= Hansard] This was in spite of the fact that it had been leaked to the press by Dr David Kellycite web |date=24 September 2003| url = | title = Hutton Inquiry Hearing Transcripts - Peter Stuart Beaumont | publisher = The Hutton Inquiry| accessdate = 2008-01-16 | last= Hutton] and other weapons inspectors that they were nothing of the sort. The trailers were for filling hydrogen balloons for artillery ranging and were sold to Iraq by a British company, Marconi.cite web |date= 15 June 2003| url =,,977916,00.html| title = Iraqi mobile labs nothing to do with germ warfare, report finds | publisher = The Observer| accessdate = 2007-07-24 | last= Peter Beaumont, Antony Barnett and Gaby Hinsliff]

In an interview in April 2004, Geoff Hoon said that more could have been done to help David Kelly, who killed himself on 17 July 2003 after being named as the source of Andrew Gilligan's controversial "Today" programme report. [cite news
title=Hoon admits mistakes over Kelly
publisher=BBC News website

On 21 July 2004 Hoon announced major changes to the British armed forces. This review, "Future Capabilities", is an extension of the White Paper "Delivering Security in a Changing World" which was published in December 2003. Although wide ranging highlights include:
* Reduction in Regular Army personnel from 108,500 to 102,000
* Purchase of the four leased C-17s and one additional aircraft
* Confirmation of two major defence procurement projects, the Typhoon and Future Carrier (CVF)
* Withdrawal of three Type 42 destroyers and three Type 23 frigates
* Reduction in numbers of the Tornado F3
* Withdrawal of entire SEPECAT Jaguar force by 2007 and closure of its base RAF Coltishall

Secretary of State for Transport

In the reshuffle after the sudden resignation of the Transport Secretary Ruth Kelly during the Labour Party Conference, Hoon became the Secretary of State for Transport on 3 October 2008. His old post of Labour Chief Whip was given to Nick Brown. [cite news
title= Gordon Brown's reshuffle
publisher=Daily Telegraph



* "The Royal Navy Handbook: Ministry of Defence" by Alan West, foreword by Geoff Hoon, 2003, Conway Maritime, ISBN 0-85177-952-2

External links

* [] Official Site
* [ ePolitix - Geoff Hoon]
* [,9290,-2501,00.html "Guardian Unlimited" Politics - Ask Aristotle: Geoff Hoon MP]
* [ - Geoff Hoon MP]
* [,13842,1031801,00.html Witnesses: Geoff Hoon] in the Hutton Inquiry includes testimony transcripts, from "The Guardian"
* [ Mr Hoon's Site] at Labour Party

News items

* [,2763,1348298,00.html Anger of parent of two Black Watch soldiers serving in Iraq]
* [,,1129562,00.html "Guardian" profile January 2004]
* [ "Times" profile January 2004]

Video clips

* [ Defending the military intelligence in 2003 on "Question Time"]


NAME= Hoon, Geoffrey William
SHORT DESCRIPTION=British politician and Cabinet minister
DATE OF BIRTH=6 December 1953
PLACE OF BIRTH=Derby, United Kingdom

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