Friday, 25 January 2008

Lords Whips

The resignation of Peter Hain prompted a wider reshuffle in Brown's government - with most of the press coverage concentrating upon the cabinet changes involving James Purnell (now Secretary of State for Work and Pensions); Andy Burnham (new Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport) and Yvette Cooper (Chief Secretary to the Treasury).

A major impact of the reshuffle was felt in the whips office in the House of Lords. Lord Grocott stood down as Chief Whip. He had served in the post for just under six years. Previously he had been PPS (Parliamentary Private Secretary) to Tony Blair, serving him during his period as Leader of the Opposition as for the first four years as Prime Minister. He is a graduate of the University of Leicester and has been a university lecturer and TV presenter & producer; and Midlands MP (1974-79; 1987-2001).

The new Chief Whip in the Lords - who holds the title of 'Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms' is Baroness Royall of Blaisdon. Jan Royall was a special adviser to Neil Kinnock during his period as Leader of the Opposition and a member of his Cabinet when he served as a European Commissioner. She became the head of the European Commission's Office in Wales before being appointed to the House of Lords. On 9th May 2005 she became a Lords whip.

Baroness Thornton becomes a whip. As Glenys Thornton she was General Secretary of the Fabian Society and is a member of the Co-operative Party. She served for five years as the Chair of the Chair of the Social Enterprise Coalition.

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