I am Director of the University's Centre for English Identity and Politics, set up to explore the relationship between a growing sense of English identity and the development of local and national politics in England. The Centre is formally launched on 23 November 2015.
I was the Labour MP for Southampton Itchen from 1992 until standing down at the 2015 General Election. I served as a Minister in the Labour Government for 10 years, including periods as a junior minister and Minister of State at the Social Security (pensions), Health and Home Office before resigning over the Iraq War. I returned to government, as Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills, and then Communities and Local Government. I also enjoyed the period 2003 - 2007 as Chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee.
Before entering Parliament I worked for a variety of voluntary sector advocacy groups including Friends of the Earth, the British Youth Council and War on Want. I took a leading role in establishing both the UK and European campaigns for Third World debt relief. I was also a Hampshire County and Southampton City Councillor.
In addition to my Winchester role I am currently a Visiting Professor at the London School of Economics, attached to their Institute of Public Affairs. I chair Culture Southampton and the Southern Policy Centre, a new think tank/policy forum for central southern England which was launched at Winchester University in 2014.