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Richard George Caborn (born 6 October 1943) is a British Labour politician, who has been the Member of Parliament for Sheffield Central since 1983; he previously served as the Minister of Sport at the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, before being appointed as Prime Minister Gordon Brown's Ambassador for the 2018 World Cup bid.

Early life

Richard Caborn was born in Sheffieldmarker and was educated at the Hurlfield Secondary Modern Boys School until 1958 (now Sheffield Springs Academymarker since September 2006, became comprehensive in 1966) on East Bank Road, Intakemarker in Sheffield; Granville College of Further Education (now Castle College, part of Sheffield Collegemarker); and Sheffield Polytechnic (now Sheffield Hallam Universitymarker), where he qualified as an engineer. He began an engineering apprenticeship in 1959, and became a convenor of shop stewards at Firth Brown Ltd in 1967, where he worked as a fitter. He was elected as the Vice President of the Sheffield Trades Council 1968-1979. He became a governor of the BBC for three years in 1975. He is a member of the Co-operative Party and of Amicus (formerly AEEU).

Parliamentary career

In 1979, he was elected as a Member of the European Parliament for Sheffield where he remained until 1984. He contested the new parliamentarymarker seat of Sheffield Central at the 1983 General Election, following the decision to retire of the Labour MP for Sheffield Park and former Cabinet member Fred Mulley, and was elected somewhat easily with a majority of 16,790, and has remained the MP there since.

Caborn joined the frontbench under Neil Kinnock in 1988 when he became an opposition spokesman on Trade and Industry, becoming a spokesman of Regional Affairs in 1990. After the 1992 General Election he became the chairman of the Trade and Industry Select Committee where he served until 1995 when he became an opposition spokesman on the Lord Chancellor's Department. Following Labour's decisive victory at the 1997 General Election, he entered the government of Tony Blair as the Minister of State at the Department of Environment, Transport and the Regions, in which role he was closely involved in establishing the English Regional Development Agencies. He was also a strong supporter of English regional government, but after negative responses from referendums in the north of England in 2004 this was dropped by government. He then moved with the same position at the Department of Trade and Industry in 1999. He became a Member of the Privy Council in 1999, and since the 2001 General Election he has served as the Minister of Sport. In relation to the Wembley Stadiummarker rebuilding project, he announced in October 2005: "They say the Cup Final will be there, barring six feet of snow or something like that".

Caborn was seen as a close ally of John Prescott, having ran his campaigns for the deputy leadership of the Labour Party in 1992 (whilst supporting Bryan Gould for leader). He also ran Prescott's campaign for both deputy and leader in 1994. He is very much one of the more old Labour figures in government and is a former Bennite, and was very active on South Africa issues, being very pro-Mandela and anti-apartheid, and has even run concerts in support of the African National Congress. He was an active supporter of Arthur Scargill during the 1984-1985 miners' strike.

On 30 December 2005, Caborn publicly announced his support for capped wages in British football.

On 28 June 2007 it was announced he would step down as Minister for Sport to become an ambassador for Britain's possible 2018 World Cup bid. In this role he will oversee the appointment of the bid's senior team and liaise between ministers and the Football Association. He will also play a key role in lobbying FIFAmarker.

Caborn announced on 13 September 2007 that he will stand down at the next general election.

Personal life

During his time as Minister of Sport he ran in many marathons and fun runs. He has been married to Margaret Hayes since 21 May 1966, and they have a son and a daughter. He enjoys a round of golf to relax and he is an avid supporter of Sheffield United football club.


  1. Caborn ambassador for 2018 World Cup bid, The Daily Telegraph, 28 June 2007
  2. Caborn to stand down as city MP, BBC News, 13 September 2007

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