Kidney attended Pinewood Primary School in Meir (now the new Crescent Primary School), Longton High School then the City of Stoke-on-Trent Sixth Form College. He studied Law at the University of Bristol, receiving an Bachelor of Laws.
Kidney was a solicitor from 1977-1979 in Hanley then in Stafford from 1979-1997, and a Stafford Borough councillor from 1987-1997. He was a parish councillor of Checkley from 1983-1987. He was a ministerial aide in the Environment team (for which no additional remuneration is given), but resigned in 2003 when he voted against the Iraq War.
He became Parliamentary Private Secretary to Elliot Morley Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in November 2005, and in 2006 he became the Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, David Miliband.
Following this, Kidney was Parliamentary Private Secretary to Rosie Winterton, then Minister of State for Work and Pensions. He recently agreed to chair a new All-Party Group formed to highlight the role of science and technology in British agriculture.
In the June 2009 reshuffle Kidney entered the Government as a minister for the first time, becoming Parliamentary Under Secretary of State in the Department for Energy and Climate Change, replacing Joan Ruddock. After losing his seat Kidney was employed as head of policy at the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health.
He then became Chief Executive of the United Kingdom Public Health Register.
Caught in a forest fire in Greece in 2006
Campaigning about prejudice against breastfeeding in 2005
Questioning closure of Royal Air Force Stafford in 2004
Resigning from the government in 2003.
He also served as Chair and an officer of several All-Party Groups, including Environment and Conservation Wildlife.
52nd United Kingdom Parliament. 53rd United Kingdom Parliament. 54th United Kingdom Parliament]
Having fought the seat unsuccessfully in 1992, Kidney was Member of Parliament for Stafford from 1997, when he defeated Conservative candidate David Cameron, to 2010, when he lost to the Conservative candidate Jeremy Lefroy by 5,460 votes in a 7.4% swing.
He served on the Modernisation Committee from 2001–2005 and was a member of the Treasury Select Committee from 1997-2001.