Cablegate: Ambassador's Introductory Call On Lord Speaker:
DE RUEHLO #2523 3131128
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 091128Z NOV 09
FM AMEMBASSY LONDON
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3940
INFO RUEHBL/AMCONSUL BELFAST PRIORITY 1452
C O N F I D E N T I A L LONDON 002523
E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/06/2019
TAGS: PGOV PREL PINR UK
SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR'S INTRODUCTORY CALL ON LORD SPEAKER:
CONSERVATIVE POLITICS AND THE HOUSE OF LORDS
Classified By: Ambassador Louis B. Susman, reasons 1.4 (b/d).
1. (C/NF) Lord Speaker of the House of Lords Baroness Hayman told the Ambassador during a November 6 meeting that in the run-up to the general elections, party politics are beginning to play a role in the House of Lords, especially the public debate over the UK's role in Afghanistan. She said the expenses scandal had created a very difficult environment in Parliament with a "terrible discontinuity" between the view inside the Houses and the view by the public. Noting that many peers and members felt "very battered by the press," she said Parliament at present "has not been a very happy place," especially with elections looming. She said that reform of the House of Lords has changed its role significantly. With the peers' far-reaching expertise across science, business, the arts, volunteerism, and defense, their scrutiny of legislation and addition of amendments to draft legislation have become more robust. She noted that the House of Lords has no veto of House of Commons' decisions, but said the upper chamber has the ability to delay legislation and give government a difficult time in passing new legislation. If the Tories form the next Government, it will be the first time they have not had a clear majority in the Lords and she assessed that many of the "cross-bencher" independents lean toward Labour.
Bio: Baroness Helene Hayman ---------------------------
2. (SBU) Baroness Hayman is the first ever Lord Speaker -- elected to the politically impartial position as chair of the Lords in 2006 upon the position's creation. Prior to being elected as Lord Speaker, she worked extensively on medical ethics issues and served as chair of the Human Tissue Authority and of Cancer Research UK. Made a life Peer in 1996, she became a junior minister at the Department for Environment, Transport, and the Regions and the Department of Health, before being appointed Minister of State at the Minstry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food in July 1999. She became a member of the Privy Council in 2001, but left political office that same year.
3. (SBU) From 1992 to 1997, Baroness Hayman was a member of the Council of University College, London, and chair of Whittington Hospital NHS Trust. She served on the ethics committees of the Royal College of Gynecologists from 1982 to 1997 and of the University College London and University College Hospital from 1987 to 1997. She was a member of the Bloomsbury Health Authority from 1985 to 1992 and its Vice Chair from 1988 onwards. She was elected to Parliament in 1974, then the youngest Member of the House of Commons, but subsequently lost her seat in the 1979 general election.
4. (SBU) Baroness Hayman attended Wolverhampton Girls' High School and studied law at Newnham College, Cambridge where she was President of the Cambridge Union Society in 1969. Born in 1949, she married Martin Hayman in 1974. They have four sons. Her youngest son completed a Fulbright exchange program in the U.S., where he worked at Citibank. Visit London's Classified Website: XXXXXXXXXXXX