Tom Sawyer, Baron Sawyer

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The Lord Sawyer
Official portrait of Lord Sawyer crop 2.jpg
Sawyer in 2019
General Secretary of the Labour Party
In office
LeaderTony Blair
Preceded byLarry Whitty
Succeeded byMargaret McDonagh
Chairman of the National Executive Committee
In office
LeaderNeil Kinnock
Preceded byJo Richardson
Succeeded byTony Clarke
Personal details
Born (1943-05-12) 12 May 1943 (age 77)
Darlington, County Durham
Political partyLabour
OccupationTrade union official

Lawrence Sawyer, Baron Sawyer (born 12 May 1943), known as Tom Sawyer, is a British trade unionist and Labour Party politician. He was General Secretary of the Labour Party from 1994 to 1998.

Early life[edit]

Sawyer was educated at Dodmire School, Eastbourne Comprehensive School and Darlington Technical College.

After his education, Sawyer worked in engineering, before moving into trade unionism. He became a National Union of Public Employees (NUPE) Officer in 1971, becoming their Northern Regional Officer in 1975. In 1981, he was made Deputy General Secretary of NUPE and served through its merger to become UNISON until 1994. In this role he served as a National Executive Committee Member of the Labour Party between 1981 and 1994 and was made Chair of the Party in 1991.

In 1994, Sawyer became General Secretary of the Labour Party and led the Party successfully into the 1997 General Election. He was a moderniser who helped bring about the New Labour era.[1] He stood down at the 1998 Party Conference[2] and was created a Life Peer as Baron Sawyer, of Darlington in the County of Durham on 4 August 1998.[3] He is now a director of several companies and public sector bodies.

In November 2004, it was announced that Lord Sawyer would become the next chancellor of the University of Teesside, replacing former Conservative MP and member of the European Commission, Leon Brittan.

The Labour History Archive and Study Centre at the People's History Museum in Manchester holds the papers of Sawyer, which range from 1985 to 1998.[4]


  1. ^ Macintyre, Donald (9 September 1998). "How we all fought to end Labour's political corruption". The Independent. Retrieved 23 May 2017.
  2. ^ "'Sheriff' hangs up his pager". BBC News. 2 October 1998. Retrieved 23 May 2017.
  3. ^ "No. 55229". The London Gazette. 18 August 1998. p. 8994.
  4. ^ Collection Catalogues and Descriptions, Labour History Archive and Study Centre

External links[edit]

Party political offices
Preceded by
Jo Richardson
Chair of the Labour Party
Succeeded by
Tony Clarke
Preceded by
Larry Whitty
General Secretary of the Labour Party
Succeeded by
Margaret McDonagh
Academic offices
Preceded by
Leon Brittan
Chancellor of the University of Teesside
Trade union offices
Preceded by
Bernard Dix
Deputy General Secretary of the National Union of Public Employees
Succeeded by
Position abolished
Preceded by
New position
Deputy General Secretary of UNISON
With: Colm O'Kane and Dave Prentis
Succeeded by
Dave Prentis
Orders of precedence in the United Kingdom
Preceded by
The Lord Bragg
Baron Sawyer
Followed by
The Lord Harris of Haringey