Peta Buscombe, Baroness Buscombe

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Peta Jane Buscombe, Baroness Buscombe (née O'Flynn,[1] born 12 March 1954) is an English barrister, regulator and politician. She is a Conservative member of the House of Lords. Lady Buscombe was Chief Executive of the Advertising Association from 2007 to 2009 before serving as Chairman of the Press Complaints Commission[2] from April 2009[3] until 16 October 2011.[4]

Early life and career[edit]

She was educated at Rosebery Grammar School, Epsom, and the Inns of Court School of Law. She was called to the Bar at the Inner Temple in 1977 and worked as a Legal Advisor for the Dairy Trade Federation from 1979 to 1980. She then worked as Legal Counsel for Barclays Bank International and Barclays Bank plc until 1984, after which she was Assistant Secretary for the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising until 1987. She was joint managing partner of Buscombe and Fiala, an international art business, from 1991 to 1995.

Political career[edit]

She stood as the Conservative candidate in Slough at the 1997 General Election.

On 23 July 1998 she was created a Life peer as Baroness Buscombe, of Goring in the County of Oxfordshire.[5] She has been a Conservative front bench spokesman in the House of Lords on several briefs including Business, Innovation and Skills; Culture, Media and Sport; Education; and Home Constitutional and Legal Affairs; and is also currently a member of the Joint Committee on Human Rights.[6][7]

Her voting record has been summarised from Public Whip.[8] She has voted moderately against introducing ID cards, more EU integration, a stricter asylum system and the hunting ban. She has voted against equal gay rights. She has voted in favour of taking steps to combat climate change.[9] She voted moderately for greater autonomy for schools. She has never voted on allowing ministers to intervene in inquests.

Professional career[edit]

She became Chief Executive of the Advertising Association in 2007, where she led the implementation of the Change4Life campaign, a Government-sponsored scheme backed by consumer and media brands which was designed to tackle obesity across the UK. Marketing Week editor Stuart Smith described Buscombe as "the most formidable advocate the commercial communications sector has seen in years".[10]

She became chair of the Press Complaints Commission in April 2009. Under her leadership the Press Complaints Commission came under criticism for a perception that it was ineffective in investigating the phone hacking scandal at the News of the World. The editor of one national newspaper was quoted as saying "it was never given the power or the teeth to do anything. When it takes testimony from newspapers it is very limited. News International ran rings around John Yates, one of the most senior policemen in the country, so it was easy to run rings around Baroness Buscombe."[11] She announced her resignation as PCC chair after phone-hacking lawyer Mark Lewis called for it following criticism of its handling of the phone hacking scandal at the News of the World.[12] In November 2010, the Commission formally apologised and paid an undisclosed sum in libel damages to lawyer Mark Lewis following misleading remarks made by her in a speech to the Society of Editors.[13]

Current appointments[edit]

She is a non-executive director of Affinity Water plc (formerly Three Valleys Water)[14][15] and Local World Ltd[16] and is also chairman of the advisory board of Samaritans.[17] She is a governor at Langley Hall Primary Academy in Langley, Berkshire.

Personal life[edit]

She married Philip Buscombe in 1980. They have three children.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Media offices
Preceded by
Christopher Meyer
Chair of the Press Complaints Commission
2009–2011
Succeeded by
David Hunt