John Hutton, Baron Hutton of Furness

John Matthew Patrick Hutton, Baron Hutton of Furness, PC (born 6 May 1955) is a British Labour Party politician who was Member of Parliament (MP) for Barrow and Furness from 1992 to 2010 and served in a number of Cabinet offices, including Defence Secretary and Business Secretary. He is a former Chairman of the Royal United Services Institute.

The Lord Hutton of Furness
Msc 2009-Sunday, 11.00 - 12.30 Uhr-Zwez 005 Hutton detail.jpg
Hutton in 2009
Secretary of State for Defence
In office
3 October 2008 – 5 June 2009
Prime MinisterGordon Brown
Preceded byDes Browne
Succeeded byBob Ainsworth
Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform
President of the Board of Trade
In office
28 June 2007 – 3 October 2008
Prime MinisterGordon Brown
Preceded byAlistair Darling (Trade and Industry)
Succeeded byThe Lord Mandelson
Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
In office
2 November 2005 – 28 June 2007
Prime MinisterTony Blair
Preceded byDavid Blunkett
Succeeded byPeter Hain
Minister for the Cabinet Office
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
In office
6 May 2005 – 2 November 2005
Prime MinisterTony Blair
Preceded byDavid Miliband
Succeeded byJim Murphy (Acting)
Minister of State for Health
In office
11 October 1999 – 6 May 2005
Prime MinisterTony Blair
Preceded byTessa Jowell
Succeeded byJane Kennedy
Parliamentary under-Secretary of State for Health
In office
27 October 1998 – 11 October 1999
Prime MinisterTony Blair
Preceded byPaul Boateng
Succeeded byYvette Cooper
Member of Parliament
for Barrow and Furness
In office
10 April 1992 – 12 April 2010
Preceded byCecil Franks
Succeeded byJohn Woodcock
Personal details
Born (1955-05-06) 6 May 1955 (age 67)
Westcliff-on-Sea, England
Political partyLabour
Alma materMagdalen College, Oxford

Early lifeEdit

Hutton was born 6 May 1955, in London, though his family moved to Westcliff-on-Sea, Essex when he was 8.[1] He was educated at Westcliff High School for Boys and Magdalen College, Oxford, where he joined the Conservative, Liberal and Labour Associations[1] and gained a BA in 1976 and a BCL 1978. He worked for a year as a bus driver.[2] For two years he was a legal adviser to the CBI. From 1980–81, he was a research associate for Templeton College, Oxford. He went on to become a senior law lecturer at the Newcastle Polytechnic from 1981–92 before turning back to politics.

Parliamentary careerEdit

Hutton first stood for election in the Penrith and the Borders seat in 1987. Two years later, he also failed to be elected as a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) for the Cumbria and North Lancashire region. His election to the Barrow and Furness seat in the 1992 general election saw him replace Cecil Franks as MP with a majority of 3,578. His majority increased to 14,497 in the Labour landslide of the 1997 Election.

After being a part of the Department of Health from 1998, he was made a member of the Privy Council in 2001. In the reshuffle following the 2005 general election (in which his majority fell to just over 6,000), he was made Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, replacing his close friend and former flatmate, Alan Milburn.

His position in this role was short lived, however. Following the second resignation of David Blunkett, Hutton was appointed as his replacement in the role of Secretary of State for Work and Pensions on 2 November 2005. Hutton was seen as one of Tony Blair's closest supporters but survived in cabinet following Blair's resignation in June 2007 and was moved by new Prime Minister Gordon Brown to be Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, which incorporated the bulk of portfolios from the now dissolved Department of Trade and Industry, including Energy security issues which many had expected to be ceded to DEFRA.

In September 2006, while discussing the forthcoming Labour Party leadership election, Hutton gave an anonymous quote to BBC journalist Nick Robinson that Gordon Brown would be a "fucking disaster" as prime minister.[3]

He was moved into the role of Secretary of State for Defence in the cabinet reshuffle on 3 October 2008. On 5 June 2009, Hutton resigned his Cabinet position and announced his intention to stand down as an MP at the next general election.[4]

Hutton gave evidence to the Iraq Inquiry about his role as Defence Secretary on 25 January 2010, the same day as his predecessor, Des Browne.[5]

House of LordsEdit

On 27 June 2010, he was created a life peer as Baron Hutton of Furness, of Aldingham in the County of Cumbria,[6] and was introduced in the House of Lords on 1 July 2010,[7] where he sits on the Labour benches.

Later careerEdit

In June 2010, it was announced that Hutton had joined the board of US nuclear power company Hyperion Power Generation. The Advisory Committee on Business Appointments stipulated that he should not lobby his former department for 12 months.[citation needed]

It was also announced in June 2010, that the Conservative – Lib Dem coalition had asked him to head a commission into public sector pensions.[8] His initial report was published in October 2010.[9] The final report was published in March 2011.[10] On 19 June 2011, Hutton rejected claims by trade unionists and Labour colleagues that he had been used as a 'stooge' by the government and dismissed speculation regarding his motives for accepting the coalition's invitation.[11]

Hutton became Chairman of the Nuclear Industry Association in June 2011.[12]

Personal lifeEdit

John Hutton married Rosemary Caroline Little in 1978 in Oxford. They had three sons, Jack, George, and Edward, author of the NHS's 'Urgent Care: Case For Change' project, as well as a daughter, Freya, before divorcing in 1993. John has multiple grandchildren from his sons Jack and Edward, and his daughter, Freya. He married civil servant Heather Rogers in 2004.[13]

He is a member of Cemetery Cottages Working Men's Club, Barrow.[2]


In 2008 John Hutton's first book was published, a non-fiction book with the title Kitchener's MenThe King's Own Royal Lancasters on the Western Front 1915–18.[14] In it, Hutton gives a "graphic insight into the daily routine and grim reality of warfare on the Western Front for men who were mostly recruited from the Furness area of the North-West. This was followed in 2010 by 'August 1914, Surrender at St. Quentin'.[15]

He has also co-authored the book 'How to be a minister – a 21st-century guide' with Sir Leigh Lewis. It was published in September 2014.[16]


  • Kitchener's Men, Pen and Sword Books Ltd, 2008, ISBN 978-1-84415-721-1


  1. ^ a b Richard Northedge "Hutton dressed as lamb?", The Daily Telegraph, 22 July 2007
  2. ^ a b "Hutton dressed as lamb?". The Daily Telegraph. 22 July 2007. Retrieved 12 April 2016.
  3. ^ Robinson, Nick (22 December 2009). "Outed: Minister who said Brown would be absolute disaster". Retrieved 27 December 2009.
  4. ^ "UK | UK Politics | Hutton quits in cabinet reshuffle". BBC News. 5 June 2009. Retrieved 12 April 2016.
  5. ^ "Ex-defence secretary speaks of strain of Iraq losses". BBC News. 25 January 2010. Retrieved 29 January 2010.
  6. ^ "No. 59476". The London Gazette. 1 July 2020. p. 12452.
  7. ^ "House of Lords Business". Retrieved 12 April 2016.
  8. ^ "John Hutton to head public sector pensions commission". BBC News. 20 June 2010. Retrieved 20 June 2010.
  9. ^ Public pensions review recommends higher contributions BBC News, 7 October 2010
  10. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 19 January 2012. Retrieved 18 February 2012.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  11. ^ "Lord Hutton: Unions are wrong to strike". BBC News. 19 June 2011. Retrieved 1 July 2011.
  12. ^ "John Hutton announced as NIA chairman". East of England Energy Group. 10 May 2011. Retrieved 15 July 2017.[permanent dead link]
  13. ^ "UK | UK Politics | Profile: John Hutton". BBC News. 3 November 2005. Retrieved 12 April 2016.
  14. ^ Pen and Sword Books, 2008
  15. ^ "Guild of Battlefield Guides". 9 April 1918. Retrieved 12 April 2016.
  16. ^ "How to be a minister – a 21st century guide". Better Government Initiative. 6 September 2014. Retrieved 12 April 2016.

External linksEdit

News itemsEdit

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by Member of Parliament
for Barrow and Furness

Succeeded by
Political offices
Preceded by Minister for the Cabinet Office
Succeeded by
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
Preceded by Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
Succeeded by
Preceded byas Secretary of State for Trade and Industry Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform
Succeeded by
Preceded by Secretary of State for Defence
Succeeded by
Orders of precedence in the United Kingdom
Preceded by Gentlemen
Baron Hutton of Furness
Followed by
The Lord Boateng