Philippa Roe, Baroness Couttie

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The Baroness Couttie
Official portrait of Baroness Couttie crop 2.jpg
Leader of Westminster City Council
In office
4 March 2012 – 26 January 2017
Preceded byColin Barrow
Succeeded byNickie Aiken
Member of the House of Lords
Lord Temporal
Assumed office
5 September 2016
Life Peerage
Councillor (Knightsbridge and Belgravia Ward)
In office
Personal details
Philippa Marion Roe

(1962-09-25) 25 September 1962 (age 56)
Hampstead, London, England
Political partyConservative
Spouse(s)John Ricketts
Stephen Couttie
ParentsJames Kenneth Roe
Dame Marion Audrey Roe
Alma materUniversity of St Andrews (MA)
ProfessionInvestment banker, politician

Philippa Marion Roe, Baroness Couttie (born 25 September 1962) is a British Conservative politician, who served as Leader of Westminster City Council from 2012 to 2017. Before entering public life she was an investment banker and a director of the financial services company Citigroup.

Life and career[edit]

Born in Hampstead and educated at the University of St Andrews, Roe was a director of Citigroup before entering politics in 2006.[1] She is a daughter of James Roe and Dame Marion Roe. She has one younger sister and one younger brother.[2] In 1982, she became the first student in 572 years to be elected to the University of St Andrews Senate, the institution's governing body. After leaving the university she began her career in the public relations industry, joining Burson Marsteller.

In the 1990s she served on a panel of experts from the private sector consulted by the Conservative government in establishing the private finance initiative,[3] and in 2004 she was the joint author of a report called "Reforming the Private Finance Initiative" published by the Centre for Policy Studies.[4]

Married to Stephen Couttie, a fund manager, she gave up her job at Citigroup when she became the mother of twins, Genevieve and Angus. In 2006, soon after this, Roe was elected to Westminster City Council, representing the three-member Knightsbridge and Belgravia ward.[5][6] At that time, she had recently recovered from cancer.[6][7]

She was appointed as a governor of Imperial College London[1] and in 2008 became the member of Westminster's cabinet for Housing. In May 2010, Roe was re-elected as a councillor, and in June she stated her support for the new coalition government's decision to cap housing benefit at £400 a week.[8][9] In 2011 she took on the cabinet portfolio for Strategic Finance. The next year she succeeded Colin Barrow as Leader of the council, beating Edward Argar for the nomination,[10] and quickly distanced herself from a comparison with a predecessor, Dame Shirley Porter.[11] The same year, she took over the role of chairman of the statutory Health and Wellbeing Board for Westminster.[12] She also sits on the London Enterprise Panel.[13] In 2013 she was quoted as saying that "local people know best"[14] and that "The funding challenge is an opportunity to break free of orthodoxy and review all the services provided and how they can be delivered more efficiently."[15]

She was re-elected as a councillor in 2014 and topped the poll, with the Conservative candidates taking 79.6 per cent of the vote.[16] She did not stand as a councillor at the 2018 election.[17]

In July 2015, Roe announced that she was seeking her party's nomination to stand as Mayor of London at the May 2016 election.[18][19] However, she was not shortlisted by the Conservatives.[20][21]

She was nominated for a life peerage in David Cameron's Resignation Honours and was created Baroness Couttie, of Downe in the County of Kent, on 5 September 2016.[22][23] Couttie is the surname of her husband Stephen.[6]


  1. ^ a b Ross Lydall, I run London's top council but still get home in time to put the children to bed dated 9 March 2012 in London Evening Standard online. Retrieved 21 July 2015
  2. ^ Country Life dated 12 February 1987, p. 53: "Miss Philippa Roe, elder daughter of Mr James Roe and Mrs Roe, MP, of Petleys, Downe, Kent, and Temple House, Theobalds Park, Hertfordshire..."
  3. ^ Philippa Roe profile at The Guardian online. Retrieved 25 July 2015
  4. ^ E. R. Yescombe, Public-Private Partnerships: Principles of Policy and Finance (2011, ISBN 0080489575), p. 332 (bibliography); "Reforming the Private Finance Initiative" is quoted by Simon Jenkins in his Thatcher and Sons: A Revolution in Three Acts (2007), at p. 137
  5. ^ Boothroyd, David. "Knightsbridge and Belgravia Ward 2002-". Westminster City Council Election Results. Retrieved 19 January 2019.
  6. ^ a b c Ben Riley-Smith, My journey from cancer hell to the joy of twins by Tory hoping to become the new Boris in The Daily Telegraph online dated 11 July 2015. Retrieved 23 July 2015
  7. ^ London Borough Council Elections May 2006 Archived 17 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine (2006) at Retrieved 30 July 2015
  8. ^ Boothroyd, David. "Knightsbridge and Belgravia Ward 2002-". Westminster City Council Election Results. Retrieved 19 January 2019.
  9. ^ Philippa Roe, Housing benefit cap was needed dated 24 June 2010 in The Guardian online. Retrieved 25 July 2015
  10. ^ Ben Bloom, Philippa Roe to become new Westminster Council leader dated 1 March 2012 at Retrieved 21 July 2015
  11. ^ Peter Hetherington, Westminster's new leader hits back at 'social cleansing' accusations dated 13 March 2012 in The Guardian online. Retrieved 25 July 2015
  12. ^ House of Commons, The Role of Local Government in Health Issues (Report of Communities and Local Government Committee, 2013), p. Ev 37
  13. ^ Cabinet at Retrieved 21 July 2015
  14. ^ Leader of Westminster sets out her vision for the future dated 15 January 2015 in The Guardian online. Retrieved 25 July 2015
  15. ^ John Brown, Pat Gaudin, Wendy Moran, PR and Communication in Local Government and Public Services (2013, ISBN 0749466170), p. 256
  16. ^ Knightsbridge and Belgravia ward election result 2014 at Retrieved 21 July 2015
  17. ^ "Results - Westminster City Council election 2018". City of Westminster. Retrieved 19 January 2019.
  18. ^ Tom Foot, Westminster Council leader Philippa Roe puts forward bid to be next Tory Mayor in West End Extra dated 10 July 2015. Retrieved 23 July 2015
  19. ^ Tory mayoral hopeful: I would give more power to London's town halls
  20. ^ London mayoral race: Tories shortlist four candidates dated 25 July 2015 at Retrieved 26 July 2015
  21. ^ Sol Campbell misses out in bid to become Mayor of London as Tory shortlist announced
  22. ^
  23. ^ "No. 61700". The London Gazette. 9 September 2016. p. 19232.

External links[edit]