Meta Ramsay, Baroness Ramsay of Cartvale

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The Baroness Ramsay of Cartvale
Official portrait of Baroness Ramsay of Cartvale crop 2.jpg
Personal details
Born (1936-06-12) 12 June 1936 (age 83)
Political partyLabour
Alma materUniversity of Glasgow, Graduate Institute of International Studies

Margaret Mildred "Meta" Ramsay, Baroness Ramsay of Cartvale (born 12 July 1936) is a Labour Party member of the House of Lords.

Educated at the University of Glasgow and the Graduate Institute of International Studies, Geneva, Ramsay served in the British diplomatic service from 1969 to 1991. A fluent Russian speaker, having studied with Elizabeth Smith, wife of the late John Smith, she was a well-respected Case Officer with Britain's Secret Intelligence Service (SIS/MI6). She served with distinction in Stockholm and in Helsinki where, as the SIS Head of Station, she was involved in the successful exfiltration of the former KGB Colonel Oleg Gordievsky.

A contemporary of Sir John Scarlett, the chief of SIS from 2004 to 2009, she was short-listed to succeed an earlier MI6 chief - Sir Colin McColl, though at that time, 1994, she lost out to Sir David Spedding, left the Service and moved into full-time politics.

She was foreign policy adviser to John Smith, Leader of the Labour Party from 1992–94, and was special adviser to Jack Cunningham, Shadow Secretary of State for Trade and Industry 1994-95.

She was made a life peer as Baroness Ramsay of Cartvale, of Langside in the City of Glasgow on 11 October 1996.[1]

Between 1998 and 2001, Ramsay was Baroness in Waiting (Whip); Spokesperson of the Scottish Office; Spokesperson of Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs; and Spokesperson of Culture, Media and Sports; in the Lords. In 2002 she was appointed Deputy Speaker of the House of Lords a position she still holds (one Deputy Speaker from a panel of 20 to 25 Deputy Speakers preside over debates when the Lord Speaker is not present).[2][3]

In 2005 she was appointed a member of the Intelligence and Security Committee, which provides parliamentary oversight of the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6), GCHQ and the Security Service (MI5). She is an advisory council member of the foreign-policy think-tank, the Foreign Policy Centre.

She is an officer of Labour Friends of Israel.


  1. ^ "No. 54554". The London Gazette. 17 October 1996. p. 13805.
  2. ^ Staff United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (Female Suffrage 1918/22), Worldwide Guide to Women in Leadership Archived 3 July 2015 at the Wayback Machine, Retrieved 2009-03-16
  3. ^ Staff. Deputy Speakers (House of Lords)[dead link], United Kingdom Parliament Archived 26 February 2009 at the Wayback Machine, 13 January 2009