Tony was born and raised in Greater Manchester, where he has gone on to represent and live for much of his life. On 9 June 2017, he was elected as the Member of Parliament for Rochdale.
Born in 1950, he attended local schools before studying Mathematics at the University of Nottingham and Business Administration at Manchester Business School.
He taught at Salford University in the Department of Business and in 1979 Tony was elected as a Councillor where he served until 1984.
Tony was first elected to Parliament in 1983 for Stretford, which later become Manchester Central constituency following significant boundary changes, which he represented until he stood down on 22 October 2012 to contest the Police and Crime Commissioner election. In June 2015, Tony was appointed Interim-Mayor of Greater Manchester.
A strong, experienced voice for Rochdale
During his years in Parliament he has been Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (1997–1999), Chair of the Parliamentary Labour Party (2006–2012), and Chair of the Trade Union Group of Labour MPs (2002–2012).
He also held the following positions in Opposition:
Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (2018–2020); Shadow Minister for Housing (2017–2018); Foreign Affairs (1995–1997); Environment (1994–1995); Education (1992–1994); Employment (1988–1992); Transport (1987–1988); Opposition Whip (1986–1987) and; Home Affairs Select Committee.
Tony led the British Delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe where he was Vice-President. He was a member of the Legal Affairs’ Committee’s sub-committee which appointed Judges to the European Court of Human Rights. (The Council of Europe was established at the end of WWII to set standards on human rights, parliamentary democracy and the rule of law, and has been especially important for countries in Europe emerging from totalitarian systems of government.) Tony was also the leader of the British Delegation to the Western European Union.
He also led the British Delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe. The OSCE has member States from Europe, Central Asia and North America. It deals with a wide-range of security related issues. Tony took part in various election monitoring team and led the monitoring team which oversaw and condemned the fraudulent Presidential election in Belarus in 2006.
He has been Chair of many Parliamentary Groups like Friends of Colombia, and was a visiting Parliamentary Fellow of St Anthony’s College, Oxford in 2005 and 2006.
Life outside of politics
Tony has four adult children, and is a keen football fan. He runs (slowly) and enjoys walking, especially in our beautiful woodlands. He is a member of Amnesty International, the National Trust, the Woodland Trust, the Bumblebee Conservation Trust, the Co-op Party, the Labour Party, the GMB and Unite.
He still has an ambition to keep bees.