John Woodcock, Lord Walney

Senior Adviser, UK

Based in the London office, the former Labour MP John Woodcock, now sitting in the upper house of Parliament as Lord Walney, provides expert counsel to Rud Pedersen's clients on public policy and strategic affairs, supporting the development of the firm's business.

John currently serves as the British Government's independent adviser on political violence and disruption, as well as the Prime Minister's Trade Envoy to Tanzania. He is an engagement director for the Levelling Up Goals and has environment, social and governance (ESG) expertise as Chair of the Purpose Business Coalition.

In nearly 20 years in politics and government, John has forged links across traditional political divides to tackle important issues. After starting his professional life as a journalist, Sheffield-born John became a political communications and public policy adviser to the last Labour government.

He was a special adviser in the Cabinet Office focused on public service and regulatory reform, in the Department for Work and Pensions where he advised then Secretary of State John Hutton introducing mandatory workplace pensions and reforming the welfare-to-work system, and at the department for Business and Energy charged with renewing the UK’s commitment to civil nuclear energy, leading on regional economic development, employment rights and striking major R&D deals to promote advanced manufacturing. In the final term of the last Labour Government, he was the political spokesman for then Prime Minister Gordon Brown at 10 Downing Street, working on the international response to the global financial crisis.

In 2010, John was elected as the Labour-Cooperative Member of Parliament for the constituency of Barrow and Furness in Cumbria and served as the Shadow Minister for Transport and chair of the Parliamentary Labour Party’s defence and foreign affairs committees. He was re-elected twice, finishing his time in the House of Commons as an independent MP focused on defence, security, foreign affairs, and building local economies. He is a graduate of the Royal College of Defence Studies and obtained a Masters in International Security and Strategy from King’s College London during his final term as an MP.

Among John’s proudest moments in Parliament was leading the campaign to maintain support for the UK’s independent nuclear deterrent, culminating in an overwhelming majority in the key vote in the House of Commons in 2016.

He is conducting a review for the Prime Minister and Home Secretary on the extreme fringes of domestic politics and threats to liberal democracy in his role as independent adviser on political violence.