Tony was born in Stretford in 1950 and attended local schools in Stretford and Old Trafford 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 to Trafford Council where he served until 1984, and was sometime Deputy Leader of the Labour Group.
Tony was elected to Parliament in 1983 for the Stretford constituency and following significant boundary changes in 1997, represented Manchester Central 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.
During his years in Parliament, he was:
- Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (1997-1999)
- Chair of the Parliamentary Labour Party (2006 – 2012).
- Chair of the Trade Union Group of Labour MPs (2002- 2012)
He also held the following positions in Opposition:
- Shadow Minister, Foreign Affairs (1995 – 1997)
- Shadow Minister, Environment (1994 – 1995)
- Shadow Minister, Education (1992 – 1994)
- Shadow Minister, Employment (1988 – 1992)
- Shadow Minister, Transport (1987 – 1988)
- Opposition Whip (1986 – 1987).
- Member of the Parliamentary 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 WW2 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.
He was a visiting Parliamentary Fellow of St Anthony’s College, Oxford in 2005 and 2006.
Tony has four adult children, 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.