Lords to discuss the role of charities in society

04 October 2010

Baroness Armstrong of Hill Top, Baroness Benjamin, Lord Beecham, Baroness Ritchie of Brompton, Baroness Sherlock, Baroness Wheeler and Lord Wills will make their maiden speeches in the House of Lords on Tuesday 5 October in a debate on the role of the charitable sector in strengthening society.

The debate will be opened by Lord Taylor of Holbeach.

During her parliamentary career, Baroness Armstrong was Parliamentary Private Secretary to John Smith during his time as Leader of the Opposition, Minister of State, Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions 1997-2001 and Minister for the Cabinet Office and Social Exclusion in 2006-07. Prior to her political career, Baroness Armstrong worked for the Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) in Kenya. She retains her interest in the charitable and voluntary sectors as the trustee on the international board of VSO.

Former children’s television presenter and actor, Baroness Benjamin, Liberal Democrat life Peer, is a board member of the Olympic Diversity and Inclusion Committee and vice president of the charity Barnados.

Lord Beecham is a member of the NHS Modernisation Board, president of Age Concern Newcastle and a member of the council of not-for-profit leadership development organisation Common Purpose. The Labour life Peer continues to be a councillor with Newcastle upon Tyne City Council and was its leader from 1977–1994.

Baroness Ritchie of Brompton is chair of the Local Government Association’s Children and Young People Board and is a member of London Councils’ Children and Young People’s Forum.  The conservative life Peer continues to be a councillor and cabinet member for Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Council.

Labour life Peer, Baroness Sherlock is a member of the Equality and Human Rights Commission and a board member of the Financial Ombudsman Service.

Baroness Wheeler is chair of the voluntary organisation Blackfriars Settlement, which works with local communities in south London.  The Labour life Peer is a former member of the Commission on Social Justice and was a director with UNISON.

Lord Wills held a number of ministerial roles, including Minister of State, Ministry of Justice, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State and Home Office Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department. The labour life Peer was MP for North Swindon from 1997-2010.

Further information

The term ‘maiden speech’ refers to the first time a new Member gives a speech in the House of the Lords. A maiden speech usually takes place during a general debate and is uncontroversial.

Members of the public can attend House of Lords debates and follow proceedings from the public gallery.

Image: PA

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