12 October 1999
Mo Mowlam to oversee GM crops

By FWi staff

MO MOWLAM is to take over government responsibility for genetically modified crops after being made Cabinet Office Minister in a major reshuffle.

Dr Mowlam, who was until today Northern Ireland Secretary, was moved to the cabinet office following the resignation of Jack Cunningham.

Dr Cunningham is thought to have resigned his post after being overlooked for the role of Defence Secretary, a role vacated by George Robertson.

Mr Robertson is moving to become Nato secretary-general and will be succeeded by Geoff Hoon, until now a junior member of the Foreign Office.

In her new role, Dr Mowlam is responsible for the effective co-ordination and presentation of the Governments policies.

As head of the Cabinet Committee on Biotechnology, Dr Mowlam will co-ordinate the governments policies on genetically modified crops.

Dr Mowlam was educated at Coundon Court Comprehensive School, Coventry, Durham University and the University of Iowa, where she obtained her PhD.

After graduation she worked as a research assistant to Tony Benn MP, then as a lecturer and as an administrator in adult education at the Northern College, Barnsley.

The Labour MP for Redcar, Dr Mowlam was promoted to Shadow Northern Ireland Secretary following the Shadow Cabinet elections of October 1994.

A Cabinet Office press release described Dr Mowlam as being “a prominent advocate of modernisation within the Labour Party.”

A popular and often outspoken MP, her refreshingly honest and lively style have attracted attention.

Her political interests are wide-ranging and include education, the media, trade and industry and, more controversially, Royal architecture.

Dr Mowlam was elected to the Shadow Cabinet for the first time in 1992 when she was given responsibility for womens issues.

She was appointed Shadow Heritage Secretary in 1993 and was made Secretary of State for Northern Ireland after the 1997 general election.