Michael Meacher was first elected to the British Parliament in 1970 after studying at Oxford University and the London School of Economics. He served as a junior minister under the Prime Ministers Harold Wilson and James Callaghan, and was one of the longest serving ministers in Tony Blair's Labour government, from 1997 to 2003, and gained a reputation for being able to master a complex brief. Since then he has attacked the government on a number of issues, particularly on genetically modified food and the Iraq war. He stood for the leadership of the Labour party in 2007. A long term campaigner on the issue of climate change, he brings both passion and intelligence to the question of our destination as a species and the purpose of life.