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Helene Hayman, Baroness Hayman

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The Baroness Hayman
Official portrait, 2023
Lord Speaker of the House of Lords
In office
4 July 2006 – 31 August 2011
MonarchElizabeth II
Preceded byThe Lord Falconer of Thoroton
(as Lord Chancellor)
Succeeded byThe Baroness D'Souza
Minister of State for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food
In office
29 July 1999 – 7 June 2001
MonarchElizabeth II
Prime MinisterTony Blair
Preceded byThe Lord Donoughue
Succeeded byOffice abolished
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health
In office
28 July 1998 – 29 July 1999
MonarchElizabeth II
Prime MinisterTony Blair
Preceded byThe Baroness Jay of Paddington
Succeeded byGisela Stuart
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Roads
In office
6 May 1997 – 28 July 1998
MonarchElizabeth II
Prime MinisterTony Blair
Preceded byThe Viscount Goschen
Succeeded byThe Lord Whitty
Member of the House of Lords
Lord Temporal
Assumed office
2 January 1996
Life Peerage
Member of Parliament
for Welwyn and Hatfield
In office
10 October 1974 – 7 April 1979
Preceded byLord Balniel
Succeeded byChristopher Murphy
Personal details
Helene Valerie Middleweek

(1949-03-26) 26 March 1949 (age 75)
Political partyCrossbench
Other political
Labour (until 2006)
Martin Heathcote Hayman
(m. 1974)
CommitteesProcedure Committee (2006–11)
House Committee (2006–11)

Helene Valerie Hayman, Baroness Hayman, GBE, PC (née Middleweek; born 26 March 1949) is a British politician who was Lord Speaker of the House of Lords in the Parliament of the United Kingdom. As a member of the Labour Party she was a Member of Parliament from 1974 to 1979. When she became an MP at age 25, she was the youngest MP of the 1974–79 Parliament. Hayman became a life peer in 1996.

Outside politics, she has been involved in health issues, serving on medical ethics committees and the governing bodies of bodies in the National Health Service and health charities. In 2006, she won the inaugural election for the newly created position of Lord Speaker.[1]

Early life, education and early career[edit]

The daughter of Maurice (a dentist) and Maude Middleweek, Hayman attended Wolverhampton Girls' High School and read law at Newnham College, Cambridge, graduating in 1969; she was President of the Cambridge Union Society in 1969. She worked for Shelter from 1969 to 1971, and for the Social Services Department at the London Borough of Camden from 1971 to 1974, when she was named Deputy Director of the National Council for One-Parent Families.[2]

Personal life[edit]

She married Martin Heathcote Hayman (born 20 December 1942) in 1974; they have four sons.[2]

Political career[edit]

She participated on William F. Buckley's Firing Line television programs in January 1972 as a member of a panel discussing "The Irish Problem" and featuring then-MP Bernadette Devlin McAliskey,[3] and on 24 July 1973 in an episode discussing whether the Apollo program had been worth it,[4] and again on the 20 August 1973 episode with Malcolm Muggeridge on the theme "Has America Had It?".[5] In February 1973 she was one of three commenters on an episode of Firing Line which featured Germaine Greer.

She contested the Wolverhampton South West constituency in the February 1974 election. She was elected as the Member of Parliament for Welwyn and Hatfield in the October 1974 general election. On her election, she was the youngest member of the House of Commons, remaining the "Baby of the House" until the by-election victory of Andrew MacKay in 1977. She was the first woman to breastfeed at Westminster. She lost her seat, a marginal, to the Conservative Christopher Murphy at the 1979 general election.

She was a member of the Bloomsbury Health Authority (later Bloomsbury and Islington Health Authority) from 1985 to 1992, and its Vice-Chair from 1988 onwards.[2] She served on the ethics committees of the Royal College of Gynaecologists from 1982 to 1997, and of the University College London and University College Hospital from 1987 to 1997. From 1992 to 1997, she was a member of the Council of University College, London, and chair of Whittington Hospital NHS Trust.

Hayman was made a life peer on 2 January 1996, and took the title Baroness Hayman, of Dartmouth Park in the London Borough of Camden.[6] After the Labour Party won the 1997 general election, she served as a junior minister in the Department for Environment, Transport and the Regions and the Department of Health, before being appointed Minister of State at the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food in July 1999.[7]

She became a member of the Privy Council in 2001, but left political office the same year to become chairman of Cancer Research UK (2001–2005). She became chair of the Human Tissue Authority in 2005. She was a Trustee of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (2002–2006) and of the Tropical Health and Education Trust (2005–2006). She was a member of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority in 2005–2006. She was a member of the Lords Select Committee on the Assisted Dying for the Terminally Ill Bill, 2004–2005, and of the Lords Constitution Committee, 2005–2006.[2]

Lord Speaker[edit]

In May 2006, after the position of Speaker in the House of Lords was separated from the office of Lord Chancellor as part of the reforms under the Constitutional Reform Act 2005, she was one of nine candidates to be put forward for the new role of Lord Speaker. She was nominated as a candidate by Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean and seconded by Lord Walton of Detchant. Her narrow victory in the election was announced on 4 July 2006[8] and she became the first ever Lord Speaker. On her election, Lord McNally, the Liberal Democrat leader in the House of Lords, called her the "Julie Andrews of British politics". Like the Speaker in the House of Commons, but unlike the Lord Chancellor who was also a judge and a government minister, the Lord Speaker resigns party membership and outside interests to concentrate on being an impartial presiding officer. [citation needed]

On 2 March 2011, Hayman gave a lecture to the Mile End Group in the Attlee Suite of Portcullis House. This was the third in a lecture series to commemorate the Parliament Act 1911.[9] On 9 May 2011, Hayman announced that she would not seek re-election for a second term as Lord Speaker;[10] her successor was Baroness D'Souza.[11]

Honours and awards[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Hayman chosen to be Lords speaker". BBC News. 4 July 2006. Retrieved 4 July 2006.
  2. ^ a b c d Helene Hayman profile at Who's Who 2009, A & C Black.
  3. ^ Firing Line with William F. Buckley Jr. (26 January 2017), Firing Line with William F. Buckley Jr.: The Irish Problem, Episode S0041, Recorded on March 25, 1972. Guest: Bernadette Devlin McAliskey, archived from the original on 12 December 2021, retrieved 3 June 2018
  4. ^ Firing Line with William F. Buckley Jr.: Was It Worth It?, retrieved 10 September 2023
  5. ^ Video distributed by the Hoover Institute, January 27th, 2017.
  6. ^ "No. 54269". The London Gazette. 5 January 1996. p. 267.
  7. ^ DOD Parliamentary Companion online Archived 8 July 2006 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ "Lord Speaker election results" (PDF). Retrieved 4 July 2006.
  9. ^ Hayman, Helene (2 March 2011). "1911 Parliament Act and the House of Lords". Mile End Group. Queen Mary University of London. Archived from the original on 21 March 2012. (Transcript of Hayman's speech)
  10. ^ "Lord Speakership Election 2011 - Baroness Hayman's Announcement". Retrieved 11 May 2010.
  11. ^ "Amendments Made on 3 May 2011 to the Standing Orders for Public Business" (PDF). The Stationery Office, Ltd. Retrieved 26 May 2011.
  12. ^ "No. 60009". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 2011. p. 6.
  13. ^ "New Year honours list". The Guardian. London. 31 December 2011.
  14. ^ "Hayman received a copy of the key of the City of Tirana, Albania". Archived from the original on 6 April 2012.

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by Member of Parliament for Welwyn and Hatfield
October 19741979
Succeeded by
Preceded byas Lord Chancellor Lord Speaker
Succeeded by
Honorary titles
Preceded by Baby of the House of Commons
Succeeded by