Chris is an author, journalist and former Labour Party MP. He served as a Minister in three departments and was chairman of the Home Affairs select committee. His books include three highly acclaimed volumes of diaries, A View from the Foothills, Decline and Fall and A Walk-On Part. His novel A Very British Coup was made into an award winning television series. He was a judge of The Man Booker Prize in 2011. He was chairman of the Heritage Lottery Fund in the North East from 2011-2017.