Kevin was born in 1946 in Hazlewood Castle,
Tadcaster. His family moved to Maltby when he was eight years old. He was educated at Maltby Hall Secondary Modern School and began his working life as an underground electrician at Maltby Colliery. After studying social sciences at Sheffield University on a day release course he then went on to Ruskin College, Oxford as a mature student.
He was elected as Member of Parliament for the Rother Valley in the 1983 general election when the constituency was divided into two. He has won all six subsequent elections for the constituency.
On entering Parliament, Kevin became a member of the Select Committee on Energy. In 1985 he became Parliamentary Private Secretary to Neil Kinnock, the then leader of the Labour Party. During the late 1980s and early 1990s he served as Shadow Minister for Energy, Employment and later Health. Kevin also became chair of the Yorkshire Group of Labour MPs in 1987, a position he still holds.
Kevin has always had a strong interest in public health and in 1993 was the originator of a Private Members Bill to ban the advertising and promotion of tobacco products. In July 1996 he was duly appointed to the newly created position of Shadow Minister for Public Health.
After the 1997 general election Kevin was selected to sit on the Intelligence and Security Committee which oversees the Intelligence Services and is the only committee to report directly to the Prime Minister. He also chaired the Parliamentary Labour Party Health Committee from 1997 to 2002.
Kevin has also chaired several All-Party Parliamentary Groups including those related to the Pharmaceutical Industry and Smoking and Health. He is currently Chair of the All-Party Groups relating to Bulgaria, Pharmacy, the Film Industry and is Co-chair of the Associate Parliamentary Health Group.
From 2005 to 2010 Kevin was Chair of the Health Select Committee. In 2005 he became a member of the Standards and Privileges Committee and in 2010 was made the Committee's Chair. In 2013 the Committee was split, being replaced by the Standards Committee and the Privileges Committee, with Kevin becoming the Chair of both until 2015. Kevin was also a member of the Liaison Committee from 2005 to 2015.
Kevin was knighted for political and public service in the 2014 New Year Honours.
Kevin enjoys spending time with his family as well as fishing, reading, film and photography. Kevin is a keen supporter of Rotherham United Football Club.