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Speaker Biography

Hilary Benn MP

 Hilary  Benn MP
Hilary , was born in November 1953. He attended Holland Park Comprehensive School and received a degree in Russian and East European Studies from the University of Sussex in 1974.

He was President of Ealing Action Constituency Labour Party from 1979 to 1982. Elected to Ealing Borough Council in 1979 at the age of 25, he became the youngest ever Chair of the Education Committee in 1986. He served as Deputy Leader of the Labour Group for nine years from 1985-1994, and was Deputy Leader of the Council from 1986-1990. In 1988 he was elected Chair of the Association of London Authorities Education Committee. He was also a member of the Association of Metropolitan Authorities Education Committee and the Labour Party's Education Forum.

In 1994, he was invited to be a member of the Office of Public Management Panel of "leaders" in local government to take part in a study on the future of public services. Between 1994 and 1997 he was Ealing Council's Performance Review Lead Member for Education.

In 1980, while a Research Officer with the Association of Scientific, Technical and Management Staffs, he was seconded to the Labour Party to act as Joint Secretary to the finance panel of the Labour Party Commission of Inquiry.

In 1982, at the age of 29, he was selected as Labour prospective parliamentary candidate for the constituency of Ealing North, which he contested in the 1983 and 1987 General Elections.

In 1993, he was appointed as Head of Research at Manufacturing, Science, Finance - Britain's fifth largest trade union - and in 1996 was promoted to the post of Head of Policy and Communications. He represented MSF on the Labour Party's National Policy Forum, was an elected member of the Party's Environment Policy Commission and a member of the Labour Party into Power Taskforce on party democracy. He also gave evidence to the Nolan Committee on Standards in Public Life.

From 1994 to 1999, he was Chair of the Management Committee of Unions 21 - the trade union think tank.

Following Labour's 1997 General Election victory, he was appointed as special adviser to the Rt Hon David Blunkett MP, Secretary of State for Education and Employment. His responsibilities included lifelong learning, and he was closely involved in the drafting of the Learning Age green paper and the Learning to Succeed White Paper.

In June 1999, he was elected as Member of Parliament for Leeds Central . From 1999-2001 he was a member of the Environment, Transport and the Regions Select Committee and Vice-Chair of the Backbench Education Committee of Labour MPs.

In June 2001, he was appointed as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for International Development.

Between May 2002 and May 2003, he was Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Community and Custodial provision at the Home Office.

In May 2003 he was appointed as Minister of State for International Development and in October that year was made Secretary of State for International Development.

In May 2005 he was re-elected as Member of Parliament for Leeds Central and re-appointed as Secretary of State for International Development.

As Secretary of State, which includes being the Prime Minister's Africa Personal Representative, Hilary is accountable to Parliament for the work of the Department.

When not working, Hilary enjoys gardening and watching sport.


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