Tony was born in Stretford, Greater Manchester, in 1950 and attended local schools before studying Mathematics at the University of Nottingham and Business Administration at Manchester Business School. He taught at Salford University in the Department of Business. In 1979 he was elected to Trafford Council where he served until 1984.
Tony was elected to Parliament in 1983, initially representing Stretford and subsequently Manchester Central. He stood down in 2012 to fight the Police and Crime Commissioner elections. He held a variety of high-profile positions in the Labour Party and the Government, including the British delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe.
A keen football fan, Tony has four adult children and enjoys walking and running. Organisations he is a member of include Amnesty International, the National Trust, the Bumblebee Conservation Trust, the Fabian Society, the GMB and Unite. He hopes to realise an ambition to keep bees.