Baroness Margaret Jay

Honorary Fellow

Margaret Ann Jay, Baroness Jay of Paddington PC, is a Labour party peer and former Leader of the House of Lords.

Margaret’s father was former Labour Prime Minister, James Callaghan, and she was educated at Blackheath High School and Somerville College, Oxford.

Between 1965 and 1977 she held production posts within the BBC working on current affairs and further education television programmes. She then became a journalist on the BBC’s prestigious Panarama programme, and Thames Television’s This Week. She went on to present the BBC2 series Social History of Medicine, as well as being a contributor to Newsnight, Any Questions, Question Time and other current affairs programmes. She has a strong interest in health issues, notably as a campaigner on HIV and Aids. She was a founder director of the National Aids Trust in 1987. She is also a patron of Help the Aged.

She was appointed a life peer in 1992 with the title of Baroness Jay of Paddington, of Paddington in the City of Westminster, and acted as an opposition Whip in the House of Lords. In association with the shop workers’ union, she led opposition to the liberalisation of Sunday trading hours.

After her party’s election victory in 1997, she became Health Spokesman and Minister for Women in the House of Lords. From 1998 she was Leader of the House of Lords, playing a pivotal role in the major reform that led to the removal of most of its hereditary members. She retired from active politics in 2001.

Among numerous non-executive roles that she has taken on since retiring from politics, she was a non-executive director of BT Group. She is currently co-chair of the cross-party Iraq Commission (along with Tom King and Paddy Ashdown) which was established by the Foreign Policy Centre think-tank and Channel 4.

Where Next?