John Whitaker Straw is a British politician who served as the Member of Parliament for Blackburn from 1979 to 2015. Straw served in the Cabinet from 1997 to 2010 under the governments of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. He held two of the traditional Great Offices of State, as Home Secretary from 1997 to 2001 and Foreign Secretary from 2001 to 2006 under Blair. From 2007 to 2010 he served as Lord Chancellor and the Secretary of State for Justice throughout Brown's Premiership.
Straw is one of only three individuals to have served in Cabinet continuously under the Labour government from 1997 to 2010.
After the Labour Party lost power in May 2010, Straw briefly served as Shadow Deputy Prime Minister and Shadow Justice Secretary, with the intention to stand down from the frontbench after the subsequent 2010 Labour Shadow Cabinet election.
Straw's first Shadow Cabinet post was as Education spokesman from 1987. In this role he called on central government to allow private Muslim, Sikh, and Hindu schools the same provision for state funding as received by Catholic, Anglican and Jewish schools.
He was appointed Home Secretary after the 1997 general election and brought forward the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000, increased police powers against terrorism and proposed to remove the right to trial by jury in certain cases. These policies won praise from Margaret Thatcher who once declared "I would trust Jack Straw's judgement. He is a very fair man."
Straw was appointed Foreign Secretary in 2001, succeeding Robin Cook. Within months, Straw was confronted by the 11 September attacks in the United States. In late September 2001, he became the first senior British government minister to visit Iran since the 1979 Revolution.
On 13 October 2005 Straw took questions from a public panel of individuals in a BBC Newsnight television special on the subject of Iraq, addressing widespread public concerns about the exit strategy for British troops, the Iraqi insurgency and, inevitably, the moral legitimacy of the war. On several occasions Straw reiterated his position that the decision to invade was in his opinion the right thing to do, but said he did not 'know' for certain that this was the case.
His autobiography “Last Man Standing” (Macmillan 2012) was described by the Sunday Times as a “well-told, humane, and entertaining tale of high office."
Amongst many speech themes Jack talks about Politics, Europe, Security and Brexit.
Straw supports his local football club Blackburn Rovers and was made an honorary vice president of them in 1998 by Jack Walker.