Anthony Lester, Baron Lester of Herne Hill

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The Lord Lester of Herne Hill
Official portrait of Lord Lester of Herne Hill crop 2.jpg
Lord Lester of Herne Hill's official parliamentary photo
Personal details
Born (1936-07-03) 3 July 1936 (age 81)
Nationality British
Occupation Politician, lawyer

Anthony Paul Lester, Baron Lester of Herne Hill, QC (born 3 July 1936) is a British barrister and politician, sitting in the House of Lords as a Liberal Democrat.

Early life and education[edit]

Lester was born into a Jewish family[1] and was educated at the City of London School. He then studied history and law at Trinity College, Cambridge, and Harvard Law School, graduating with Bachelor of Arts and Master of Laws degrees respectively.[2]

Legal career[edit]

Lester was called to the bar at Lincoln's Inn in 1963[2] and took silk in 1975.[3] In 1987, he was appointed to be a recorder[4][5][6] and was in office until 1993.[2] As a barrister he works from Blackstone Chambers. He was appointed adjunct professor of the Faculty of Law at University College Cork (Ireland) in 2005.

Race relations[edit]

In the 1960s and 1970s Lester was directly involved with the drafting of race relations legislation in Britain. During these periods, he acted as the chair of the legal subcommittee of the Campaign Against Racial Discrimination (C.A.R.D.) and was a member of several organisations working for racial equality such as the Society of Labour Lawyers, Fabian Society, Council of the Institute of Race Relations, British Overseas Socialist Fellowship and the National Committee for Commonwealth Immigrants.[7] In 1968, he co-founded the Runnymede Trust think-tank with Jim Rose. He was chairman of the Runnymede Trust from 1991 to 1993.

Special adviser[edit]

He was a special adviser to Roy Jenkins at the Home Office in the 1970s, and moved with Jenkins from the Labour Party to found the SDP in 1981. On 29 June 2007, Lester was appointed by Prime Minister Gordon Brown as a special adviser on constitutional reform to the Secretary of State for Justice.[8] Lester is a member of the Joint Committee on Human Rights.

Family Planning Association[edit]

Lester is a patron of the Family Planning Association, previously called the National Birth Control Committee. He represented the FPA in a contentious case in Northern Ireland where it was widely claimed that the FPA were trying to use strategic litigation to introduce liberalised abortion laws into the country.


Lester's peerage was announced on 13 August 1993.[9] He was raised to the peerage as Baron Lester of Herne Hill, of Herne Hill in the London Borough of Southwark on 13 October 1993.[10][11]

Styles of address[edit]

  • 1936–1975: Mr Anthony Lester
  • 1975–1993: Mr Anthony Lester QC
  • 1993–: The Rt Hon. The Lord Lester of Herne Hill QC

Personal life[edit]

Lester is the father of Gideon Lester and of Maya Lester QC.[12]


  1. ^ Gloger, Dana (11 July 2008). "Aye! To 150 years of Jewish MPs". The Jewish Chronicle. 
  2. ^ a b c "Anthony Paul Lester, Baron Lester of Herne Hill". The Peerage. Retrieved 3 January 2017. 
  3. ^ "No. 46547". The London Gazette. 18 April 1975. p. 5024. 
  4. ^ "No. 51106". The London Gazette. 29 October 1987. p. 13339. 
  5. ^ "No. 51112". The London Gazette. 5 November 1987. p. 13635. 
  6. ^ "No. 51117". The London Gazette. 11 November 1987. p. 13885. 
  7. ^ Heineman, Benjamin W. (1972). The Politics of the Powerless: A Study of the Campaign Against Racial Discrimination. London, UK: Oxford University Press. p. 157. 
  8. ^ "Brown unveils new faces". 29 June 2007. Archived from the original on 1 July 2007. 
  9. ^ "No. 53400". The London Gazette. 13 August 1993. p. 13487. 
  10. ^ "No. 53461". The London Gazette. 19 October 1993. p. 16771. 
  11. ^ "No. 23463". The Edinburgh Gazette. 19 October 1993. p. 3217. 
  12. ^ Trindle, Jamila (2 May 2014). "Can I Pay You in Rubles?". FP. 

External links[edit]

  • Odysseus Trust – supporting the work of Anthony Lester in the House of Lords
Party political offices
Preceded by
Peter Hall
Chairman of the Fabian Society
Succeeded by
Frank Judd