John is the UK government’s independent adviser on political violence and disruption and the Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Tanzania. He is an engagement director for the Levelling Up Goals and sits as a crossbench peer in the House of Lords.
Nearly twenty years in politics and government has seen John forge links across traditional political divides to tackle important issues. After starting his professional life as a journalist, Sheffield-born John became a political communications and public policy adviser to the last Labour government.
He was a special adviser in the Cabinet Office focused on public service and regulatory reform, in the Department for Work and Pensions where he advised then Secretary of State John Hutton introducing mandatory workplace pensions and reforming the welfare-to-work system, and at the department for Business and Energy charged with renewing the UK’s commitment to civil nuclear energy, leading on regional economic development, employment rights and striking major R&D deals to promote advanced manufacturing.
John was the political spokesman for Gordon Brown in 10 Downing Street as the then Prime Minister led the international response to the global recession.
In 2010 he was elected as the Labour-Cooperative MP for Barrow and Furness. He was re-elected twice, finished his time in parliament as an independent MP focused on defence, security, foreign affairs, and building local economies. He is a graduate of the Royal College of Defence Studies and obtained a Masters in International Security and Strategy from King’s College London during his final term as an MP.
Among John’s proudest moments in parliament was leading the campaign to maintain support for the UK’s independent nuclear deterrent, culminating in an overwhelming majority in the key vote in the House of Commons in 2016.
He is conducting a review for the prime minister and home secretary on the extreme fringes of domestic politics and threats to the UK’s liberal democracy in his role as independent adviser on political violence.