Janet Young, Baroness Young

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Note that there are two other British life peers with similar titles: Barbara Scott Young, Baroness Young of Old Scone; and Lola Young, Baroness Young of Hornsey.
The Right Honourable
The Baroness Young
PC
Lord Privy Seal
In office
7 April 1982 – 11 June 1983
Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher
Preceded by Humphrey Atkins
Succeeded by John Biffen
Leader of the House of Lords
In office
14 September 1981 – 11 June 1983
Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher
Preceded by The Lord Soames
Succeeded by The Viscount Whitelaw
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
In office
14 September 1981 – 7 April 1982
Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher
Preceded by Francis Pym
Succeeded by Cecil Parkinson
Personal details
Born (1926-10-23)23 October 1926
Died 6 September 2002(2002-09-06) (aged 75)
Political party Conservative
Alma mater Yale University
St Anne's College, Oxford

Janet Mary Baker Young, Baroness Young PC (23 October 1926 – 6 September 2002), was a British Conservative politician. She served as the first ever female Leader of the House of Lords from 1981 to 1983, first as Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and from 1982 as Lord Privy Seal. She was the only woman ever appointed to the Cabinet by Margaret Thatcher.

Early life[edit]

Born Janet Mary Baker in 1926, she went to the mainly boys Dragon School in Oxford where she played rugby and cricket, and then to Headington School. During World War II she studied at Yale, and then took an MA in philosophy, politics and economics at St Anne's College, Oxford. She married Geoffrey Tyndale Young, and had three daughters.[1]

Political career[edit]

She became a councillor for Oxford City Council in 1957 and was leader by 1967. Not long after she was raised to the peerage on the advice of Edward Heath, being created a life peer on 24 May 1971 taking the title Baroness Young, of Farnworth in the County Palatine of Lancaster.[2] As the Lady Young she was appointed Leader of the House of Lords, and sat on the boards of large corporations such as NatWest and Marks and Spencer.

In later life she was mainly known for her staunch opposition to gay rights. She worked to try to stop legislation going through that would allow unmarried couples (including gay men and women) to adopt children, and also led campaigns in the House of Lords to prevent equalisation of the age of consent for homosexual men with that of heterosexuals, and also fought the repeal of Section 28. She was ultimately defeated on all counts. Although she managed to delay the repeal of Section 28 in England and Wales in 2000, Section 28 was finally removed from the statute book in 2003.

Death[edit]

She died at the age of 75 following a long battle with cancer. Following her death, gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell declared that she had "poisoned society with prejudice and intolerance" and that "future historians will rank her alongside the defenders of apartheid. She supported homophobic discrimination to the last."[3]

Tim Montgomerie, then Chairman of the Conservative Christian Fellowship, said that "Baroness Young led a life of great service to Christian causes. She defended marriage and the family against an onslaught of damaging legislation in recent years. Unlike many of today's politicians and church leaders, she refused to accept that the breakdown of the family was inevitable and she invested every effort into standing up for the interests of vulnerable children. If only more Christians followed her example and sought political office, the country would, perhaps, not face the same difficulties that it does. She will be sadly missed."[4]

References[edit]


Political offices
Preceded by
The Lord Soames
Leader of the House of Lords
1981–1983
Succeeded by
The Viscount Whitelaw
Preceded by
Francis Pym
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
1981–1982
Succeeded by
Cecil Parkinson
Preceded by
Humphrey Atkins
Lord Privy Seal
1982–1983
Succeeded by
John Biffen
Party political offices
Preceded by
The Lord Soames
Leader of the Conservative Party in the House of Lords
1981–1983
Succeeded by
The Viscount Whitelaw