But in his latest book, the former Home Secretary and Yorkshire MP Alan Johnson is placing on record a matching love of music.
His memoir, In My Life – his second to be named after a Beatles tune – is a journey in song, through his formative years from 1957 to 1982 and covering artists as diverse as Cole Porter, Lonnie Donegan and Billy Joel.
Mr Johnson, who stepped down last year after 20 years in parliament, will discuss the book at a literary lunch next month, organised as part of the Harrogate International Festivals, in partnership with The Yorkshire Post.
The former MP for Hull West and Hessle, has written previously in This Boy about growing up in poverty in the slums of London, and of having been raised by his sister, Linda, after his mother died when he was 13.
In his latest volume, he recalls a lost world of Dansettes and jukeboxes, heartfelt love songs and heartbroken ballads, of smoky coffee shops and dingy dance halls.
“I wanted to be a writer from the age of about 14, or 15,” he said. “I read voraciously from an early age and I wanted to have a go myself. But this went on hold for 50 years.”
Tickets for the event at Harrogate’s Crown Hotel on Thursday, October 18, are £35 each and bookable at harrogateinternationalfestivals.com.