House of Lords members elected their first Lord Speaker on 4 July 2006, Baroness Hayman. She served one term of office (five years) and was succeeded by Baroness D’Souza in July 2011.
Baroness Hayman was responsible for developing a programme which engaged people with the House of Lords and its members.
The programme had a focus on young people and included Peers in Schools (link), an annual event in the chamber for young people and student competitions. She pioneered seminars and lectures demonstrating the wide range of experience and expertise in the House of Lords.
As Lord Speaker, Baroness Hayman took part in a series of outreach activities. In 2011, for example, she spoke during visits to Bristol, Manchester, Portsmouth and Wolverhampton.
Baroness Hayman represented the House of Lords during visits from US President Barack Obama in 2011, Pope Benedict XVI in September 2010 and the then President of France, Nicolas Sarkozy, in 2008.
Helene Hayman’s political career began in 1974, as Labour MP for Welwyn and Hatfield (1974-79). She was the youngest member of the House of Commons and one of 27 women MPs at the time.
After leaving the House of Commons in 1979, she undertook a number of roles in the healthcare sector, while raising her family. In 1996 she became a member of the House of Lords.
Her parliamentary roles included Opposition Spokesperson in the Lords for Health (1996-97); Under Secretary of State at the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (1997-98); Under Secretary of State at the Department of Health (1998-99); and Minister of State at the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1999-2001).