JOHN Denham has been MP for Southampton Itchen since 1992.
Following the election of Tony Blair's new Labour Government in 1997, he served as a minister in the departments of social security, health and the Home Office.
He resigned from the Government over the Iraq war and during a period on the backbenches, he chaired the powerful Home Affairs Select Committee.
Mr Denham was appointed to Gordon Brown's first Cabinet as secretary of state for innovation, universities and skills in 2007.
In June 2009 he became secretary of state for communities and local government.
Before becoming an MP he served Southampton as a local councillor, on Hampshire County Councillor from 1981 until 1989, where he was spokesman on education, and from 1989 to 1993 on Southampton City Council, where he was chairman of the housing committee.
Mr Denham was born in 1953 and educated at Woodroffe Comprehensive School, Lyme Regis and Southampton University, where he was 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.
Mr Denham has three children and enjoys cookery, walking and music. He is a season ticket holder at Southampton Football Club.
He is also member of the AMICUS union.
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