John Denham was born in 1953 and educated at Woodroffe Comprehensive School, Lyme Regis. He studied Chemistry at the University of Southampton where he went on to serve as President of the Students Union.
He was Head of Youth Affairs at the British Youth Council from 1979 until 1983, and was responsible for public education and advocacy for War on Want from 1984 to 1988. He subsequently worked for Christian Aid, Oxfam and other development agencies.
He was a Hampshire County Councillor from 1981 until 1989, where he was spokesman on Education. From 1989 until 1993 he served as a Southampton City Councillor and was Chair of the City’s Housing Committee.
John was first elected as Member of Parliament for Southampton, Itchen in 1992 and has retained the seat at the four subsequent General Elections. He had previously fought the seat as the Labour candidate in the 1983 and 1987 elections.
Following Labour’s return to power in 1997 John served as a Government Minister in various departments. In 2003 he resigned from his post at the Home Office in protest at the Iraq war. In June 2000 he was appointed by the Queen as a Privy Councillor and during a period on the backbenches he chaired the powerful Home Affairs Select Committee.
John returned to government in Gordon Brown’s first cabinet as Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills. In June 2009 John became Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, where he remained until Labour left office in May 2010.
In Opposition, John remains a key figure in Labour’s campaign against the Tory-led Government’s reckless cuts. Having supported Ed Miliband in the 2010 Labour Leadership election, John became Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills in the October of that year. He later went on to become PPS to Ed Miliband, before standing down from frontline politics to spend more time in his constituency. John has decided to stand down at the next General Election, which is expected to take place in 2015.
John has three children and enjoys cooking, walking and music. He plays cricket for the House of Commons and is a season ticket holder at Southampton Football Club.
John Denham is a member of Unite the Union (Amicus).