Helene Hayman, Baroness Hayman

Helene Hayman, Baroness Hayman

The Right Honourable
The Baroness Hayman
Helene, Lady Hayman, at Westminster Hall, 25 May 2011
Lord Speaker
In office
4 July 2006 – 31 August 2011
Preceded by Lord Falconer of Thoroton
as Lord Chancellor
Succeeded by Baroness D'Souza
Lord Temporal
Assumed office
2 January 1996
Nominated by John Major
Monarch Elizabeth II
Member of Parliament
for Welwyn and Hatfield
In office
10 October 1974 – 3 May 1979
Preceded by Lord Balniel
Succeeded by Christopher Murphy
Personal details
Born (1949-03-26) 26 March 1949
Political party Crossbench
Other political
Labour (until 2006)
Spouse(s) Martin Heathcote Hayman (m. 1974; 4 sons)
Committees Procedure Committee (2006–11)
House Committee (2006–11)
Religion Judaism

Helene Valerie Hayman, Baroness Hayman, GBE, PC (née Middleweek; born 26 March 1949, Wolverhampton) was Lord Speaker of the House of Lords in the Parliament of the United Kingdom. As a member of the Labour Party she was a Member of Parliament from 1974 to 1979, and became a Life Peer in 1996.

Outside politics, she has been involved in health issues, serving on medical ethics committees and the governing bodies of bodies in the National Health Service and health charities. In 2006, she won the inaugural election for the newly created position of Lord Speaker.[1]


  • Early life, education and early career 1
  • Personal life 2
  • Political career 3
  • Lord Speaker 4
  • Honours and awards 5
  • See also 6
  • References 7
  • Offices held 8

Early life, education and early career

The daughter of Maurice (a dentist) and Maude Middleweek, Hayman attended Wolverhampton Girls' High School and read law at Newnham College, Cambridge, graduating in 1969; she was President of the Cambridge Union Society in 1969. She worked for Shelter from 1969–71, and for the Social Services Department at the London Borough of Camden from 1971–74, when she was named Deputy Director of the National Council for One-Parent Families.[2]

Personal life

She married Martin Heathcote Hayman in 1974; they have four sons.[2]

Political career

She contested the Wolverhampton South West constituency in the February 1974 election. She was elected as the Member of Parliament for Welwyn and Hatfield in the October 1974 UK general election. On her election, she was the youngest member of the House of Commons, remaining the "Baby of the House" until the by-election victory of Andrew MacKay in 1977. She was the first woman to breastfeed at Westminster. She lost her seat, a marginal, to the Conservative Christopher Murphy at the 1979 general election.

She was a member of the Bloomsbury Health Authority (later Bloomsbury and Islington Health Authority) from 1985–92, and its Vice-Chair from 1988 onwards.[2] She served on the ethics committees of the Royal College of Gynaecologists from 1982–97, and of the University College London and University College Hospital from 1987–97. From 1992–97, she was a member of the Council of University College, London, and chair of Whittington Hospital NHS Trust.

Hayman was made a Life Peer on 2 January 1996, and took the title Baroness Hayman, of Dartmouth Park in the London Borough of Camden.[3][4] After the Labour Party won the 1997 general election, she served as a junior minister in the Department for Environment, Transport and the Regions and the Department of Health, before being appointed Minister of State at the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food in July 1999.[5]

She became a member of the Privy Council in 2001, but left political office the same year to become chairman of Cancer Research UK (2001–05). She became chair of the Human Tissue Authority in 2005. She was a Trustee of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (2002–2006) and of the Tropical Health and Education Trust (2005–06). She was a member of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority in 2005-06. She was a member of the Lords Select Committee on the Assisted Dying for the Terminally Ill Bill, 2004–05, and of the Lords Constitution Committee, 2005–06.[2]

Lord Speaker

In May 2006, after the position of Speaker in the House of Lords was separated from the office of Lord Chancellor as part of the reforms under the Constitutional Reform Act 2005, she was one of nine candidates to be put forward for the new role of Lord Speaker. She was nominated as a candidate by Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean and seconded by Lord Walton of Detchant. Her narrow victory in the election was announced on 4 July 2006[6] and she became the first ever Lord Speaker. On her election, Lord McNally, the Liberal Democrat leader in the House of Lords, called her the "Julie Andrews of British politics". Like the Speaker in the House of Commons, but unlike the Lord Chancellor who was also a judge and a government minister, the Lord Speaker resigns party membership and outside interests to concentrate on being an impartial presiding officer.

On 2 March 2011, Hayman gave a lecture to the Mile End Group in the Attlee Suite of Portcullis House. This was the third in a lecture series to commemorate the 1911 Parliament Act.[7] On 9 May 2011, Hayman announced that she would not seek re-election for a second term as Lord Speaker;[8] her successor is Baroness D'Souza.[9]

Honours and awards

  • Dame Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire[10] in the 2012 New Year Honours for services to the House of Lords..[11]
  • On 21 August 2010: copy of the key of the city of Tirana on a visit to Albania at the invitation of the Speaker of the Albanian Parliament.[12]
  • Honorary Fellow, Newnham College, Cambridge

See also


  1. ^ "Hayman chosen to be Lords speaker". BBC News. 4 July 2006. Retrieved 4 July 2006. 
  2. ^ a b c d Helene Hayman profile at Who's Who 2009, A & C Black.
  3. ^ The London Gazette: no. 54269. p. 267. 5 January 1996.
  4. ^ "thePeerage.com". Retrieved 10 July 2006. 
  5. ^ onlineDOD Parliamentary Companion
  6. ^ "Lord Speaker election results" (PDF). Retrieved 4 July 2006. 
  7. ^ A transcript can be read here.
  8. ^ "Lord Speakership Election 2011 - Baroness Hayman's Announcement". Retrieved 11 May 2010. 
  9. ^ "Amendments Made on 3 May 2011 to the Standing Orders for Public Business" (PDF). The Stationery Office, Ltd. Retrieved 26 May 2011. 
  10. ^ "New Year honours list". The Guardian (London). 31 December 2011. 
  11. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 60009. p. 6. 31 December 2011.
  12. ^ Hayman received a copy of the key of the City of Tirana, Albania

Offices held

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Lord Balniel
Member of Parliament for Welwyn and Hatfield
October 19741979
Succeeded by
Christopher Murphy
Honorary titles
Preceded by
Dafydd Elis-Thomas
Baby of the House
Succeeded by
Andrew MacKay
Political offices
Preceded by
The Lord Falconer of Thoroton
as Lord Chancellor
Lord Speaker
Succeeded by
The Baroness D'Souza