Geoffrey Hoon was appointed Secretary of State for Defence on 11th October 1999, as successor to Lord Robertson of Port Ellen who took up the post of Secretary General of NATO.
Mr Hoon served previously in the Lord Chancellor's Department as Parliamentary Secretary from May 1997, and was promoted to Minister of State there in July 1998.
He then joined the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in May 1999, as Minister of State with responsibility for Asia and the Pacific, the Middle East and North Africa. He was made Minister for Europe on 29 July.
While in Opposition, Mr Hoon held the position of Whip from 1994 until 1995, and then became a spokesman on Trade and Industry.
Mr Hoon was Member of the European Parliament (MEP) for Derbyshire and Ashfield from 1984 until 1994. During that time he was a member of the European Parliament's Legal Affairs Committee. He was successively Chairman of the Delegations for Relations with China and the United States.
Before entering Parliament, Mr Hoon lectured in law at Leeds University from 1976 to 1982, and was Visiting Professor of Law at the University of Louisville, Kentucky, in 1979 and 1980. He practised as a barrister in Nottingham between 1982 and 1984.
Mr Hoon was born in Derby on 6 December 1953 and was educated at Nottingham High School and Jesus College, Cambridge. He was called to the Bar in 1978 by Gray's Inn. He is married with one son and two daughters.