The Rt. Hon. John Hutton MP was appointed Secretary of State for the Ministry of Defence on 3 October 2008.
Since June 2007, Mr Hutton has been Secretary of State for the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform and prior to that he had been State Secretary of State for Work and Pensions from November 2005.
Mr Hutton was made a member of the Privy Council in 2001 and in May 2005 entered the Cabinet as Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster.
Before his election to Parliament he was a Senior Law lecturer at the University of Northumbria and from 1994 to1997 he served on the Select Committee for Home Affairs.
Between 1997 and 1998 Mr Hutton was Parliamentary Private Secretary to Margaret Beckett, both while she was President of the Board of Trade and Secretary of State for Trade and Industry and in her role as President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons. He was appointed Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health and Social Care in Oct 1998.
Mr Hutton was born on the 6 May 1955 and was educated at Westcliffe High School and Magdalen College Oxford. He is married to Heather Rogers, and has three sons and one daughter.
The Secretary of State for Defence is the Cabinet Minister charged with making and executing Defence policy, and with providing the means by which it is executed, the Armed Forces. He is Chairman of the Defence Council and of its three Boards, (the Admiralty Board, the Army Board and the Air Force Board).
Although responsible ultimately for all elements of Defence, the Secretary of State is supported by three subordinate Ministers: the Minister of State for Defence Procurement, the Minister of State for the Armed Forces and the Under-Secretary of State for Defence. The Secretary of State assigns responsibility to them for specific aspects of the Armed Forces and the Ministry of Defence's business. However, the following are specifically his responsibility:
- Policy, including nuclear issues and European defence
- Finance and efficiency
- Oversight of major acquisition decisions and defence industrial issues
- Media and communications