Here is a breakdown of Jack Straw's career in politics:
He was NUS president from 1969-71 and worked briefly in journalism and the law before becoming a protege of prominent Labour veteran Barbara Castle, whose Blackburn seat he inherited.
He entered Parliament in 1979, joining Neil Kinnock's shadow cabinet in 1987 and served as spokesman on education and environment before taking over Tony Blair's role as Shadow Home Secretary when he became leader in 1994.
He was appointed as Home Secretary in 1997.
He moved to Foreign Secretary after Labour's election victory in 2001.
Straw served in two of the great offices of state and was one of only three people to hold Cabinet office throughout the Labour governments of 1997-2010.
Labour leader Ed Miliband honoured outgoing Labour veteran Jack Straw, thanking him for his service and saying the MP will be "greatly missed" from the House of Commons.
"On behalf of the Labour Party, I want to thank him for his nearly 35 years service as an MP, his achievements in government and his eloquence and wisdom."
He added: "He has been a great friend and loyal supporter to me during my time as leader. It is a measure of the man that I know the same would have been said by the six predecessors of mine under whom he served. He is Labour through and through, and always displayed this in his words and deeds.
"He will be sorely missed but I know he will continue to serve our country in many different ways."
Jack Straw told a constituency meeting in Blackburn he'd been "astonishingly blessed" to represent the town and work as minister and shadow minister but that at 67 he "couldn't guarantee" he could keep up the pace required into his mid-70's.
Althoughhe backed his brother David in the Labour leadership campaign in 2010, Mr Strawpaid tribute to Ed Miliband:
"In Ed Miliband we havea leader who has the ability, the determination, and thecharacter to take this country to a better, and much fairerplace than under this Government."