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Labour antagonisers: Hewitt and Hoon

By Channel 4 News

Updated on 06 January 2010

Former cabinet ministers Patricia Hewitt and Geoff Hoon have called for a ballot on Gordon Brown's leadership, but why does it matter what they think?

One of Blair's Babes, the former health secretary was widely regarded as loyal to the former prime minister. Hewitt joined the cabinet after the 2001 election as secretary of state for trade and industry and minister for women, taking over the health remit in 2005.

Hewitt has faced her fair share of controversy. In a speech in 2006 she said the NHS had had "its best year ever", a comment decried by health unions coping with job cuts across the sector.

She narrowly survived a vote of no confidence in the House of Commons two months before leaving the cabinet. The vote followed in the wake of heavy criticism of a job application process for junior doctors which was investigated for revealing personal data about the candidates.

She announced her departure from frontline politics when Gordon Brown moved into Number 10 in 2007, citing personal reasons, and declared last summer that she would not seek re-election as an MP.

Hewitt's cabinet colleague, Geoff Hoon, will probably best be remembered as the beleaguered defence secretary during the Iraq war – a post he held on to from 1999 until the 2005 election.

The MP for Ashfield's political career has had its highs and lows since then. After a year-long stint as leader of the House of Commons, Hoon was moved off to be minister for Europe.

He briefly re-entered the cabinet in October 2008 as transport secretary, following the sudden resignation of Ruth Kelly from the role, but was one of several minister to step down in the cabinet reshuffle the following June.


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