Dorothy Thornhill, Baroness Thornhill

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The Right Honourable
The Baroness Thornhill
Dorothy Thornhill at Bournemouth.jpg
Mayor of Watford
Assumed office
May 2002
Preceded by New Office
Personal details
Born (1955-05-26) 26 May 1955 (age 61)
Tenby, Pembrokeshire, Wales
Political party Liberal Democrats

Dorothy Thornhill, Baroness Thornhill, MBE (born 26 May 1955) is the first directly elected mayor of Watford, Hertfordshire, England. She was the Liberal Democrats' first directly elected mayor, and was also the first female directly elected mayor in the United Kingdom. She has been Mayor of Watford since May 2002, being re-elected in May 2006, May 2010 and May 2014. She was nominated for a life peerage in August 2015.[1]

Political career[edit]

In May 2002, Dorothy Thornhill became the first elected mayor of Watford Borough with a majority of over 8000 after counting second choice votes.[2]

Thornhill increased her majority when she was re-elected as mayor in May 2006, gaining more than 50% of the vote in the first round, with a majority of over 7000.[3]

Thornhill was ranked the 41st most influential Liberal Democrat in the country, in an article by the Daily Telegraph. They stated:

"Dorothy Thornhill overcame tough opposition to become the first directly LibDem mayor in 2002 and she was re-elected in 2006. Watford is a target seat for the 'LibDems' at the next election and her tenure as mayor will prove crucial to their fortunes.[4] "

At a Liberal Democrat town hall meeting in Watford, February 2010, the leader of the party, Nick Clegg was asked whether he felt the Mayor was right to earn the same wage as a Member of Parliament whether she was “value for money”, and in response he named her "one of the best mayors in this country".[5]

Thornhill was re-elected as Mayor of Watford in May 2010, for a third term in office, with a majority of 11,921, becoming the second directly elected mayor in the UK to do so.[6]

Thornhill lost a legal battle to evict allotment holders from the Terrace Farm allotments in Watford.[7]

Thornhill was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2011 Birthday Honours.[8]

Thornhill stood in the Parliamentary elections on 7 May 2015 as the Liberal Democrat's candidate. She won only 10,152 votes compared to the Labour candidate's 14,606 and the Conservative candidate's 24,400.

On 21 October 2015, she was created a life peer as Baroness Thornhill, of Watford in the County of Hertfordshire.[9]

Personal life[edit]

Thornhill was assistant head teacher at Queens' School in Bushey for several years and had a teaching career spanning over 25 years.[10]

Thornhill resides in Oxhey, where she was a borough councillor for several years. She states on the Watford Council Website "In my spare time I enjoy spending time with friends and family, reading, watching rugby and football and visiting old churches." and she describes herself as "an avid viewer of Coronation Street" She is an Honorary Vice-President of Watford Football Club.[10] She is married to Cllr Iain Sharpe, a fellow Liberal Democrat. She uses the social networking site Twitter regularly.


External links[edit]

Civic offices
New creation Mayor of Watford
2002 – Present