In the news: Matthew Carter

January 9, 2004

Matthew Carter, a former politics tutor at York University, last week began his role as general secretary of the Labour Party.

Aged only 31, he has had a meteoric rise through the ranks since joining Labour in 1998 as a local organiser in Teesside and Durham, where he worked closely with staff in Tony Blair's constituency.

Mr Carter was the Southwest regional director at the last election and saw all of Labour's MPs returned, as well as gaining the Tory seat of South Dorset. He then became assistant general secretary and was interviewed for the top job but lost out to David Triesman, former general secretary of the Association of University Teachers.

Mr Carter had to wait only two years before moving up after his boss was appointed to the House of Lords.

Mr Carter is said to be on "relatively good terms" with the large unions, despite having what The Times called a "reputation as an intellectual".

He completed a doctoral thesis on ethical socialism at York and has published two books: T. H. Green and the Development of Ethical Socialism last year and The People's Party: The History of the Labour Party , co-written with Tony Wright MP in 1997.

Reviewing the latter for i, Jad Adams noted that the work was "far from impartial about disputes within the party".

In 1997, The Independent on Sunday put Mr Carter on its list of people likely to be Labour Cabinet members within two decades. However, like many before him, he fumbled his first attempt at entering politics, failing to win the Tory-held Vale of York seat that year.

Mr Carter cited four election defeats and Thatcherism as his catalysts for pursuing a political career. He is keen to see greater "openness and consensual politics".

Mr Carter, who is married and has two children, lists walking in the Lake District, running and supporting Grimsby Town FC as his interests.

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