Peta Buscombe, Baroness Buscombe
Peta Jane Buscombe, Baroness Buscombe (née O'Flynn, born 12 March 1954) is an English barrister, regulator and politician. She is a Conservative member of the House of Lords. Lady Buscombe was Chief Executive of the Advertising Association from 2007 to 2009. She served as Chairman of the Press Complaints Commission from April 2009 until 16 October 2011. During this time The PCC received extensive criticism for its lack of action in the News International phone hacking scandal, including from MPs and Prime Minister David Cameron, who called for it to be replaced with a new system in July 2011. Buscombe herself was widely criticised.
Early life and career
She was educated at Rosebery Grammar School, Epsom, and the Inns of Court School of Law. She was called to the Bar at the Inner Temple in 1977 and worked as a Legal Advisor for the Dairy Trade Federation from 1979 to 1980. She then worked as Legal Counsel for Barclays Bank International and Barclays Bank plc until 1984, after which she was Assistant Secretary for the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising until 1987. She was joint managing partner of Buscombe and Fiala, an international art business, from 1991 to 1995.
She stood as the Conservative candidate in Slough at the 1997 General Election.
On 23 July 1998 she was created a Life peer as Baroness Buscombe, of Goring in the County of Oxfordshire. She has been a Conservative front bench spokesman in the House of Lords on several briefs including Business, Innovation and Skills; Culture, Media and Sport; Education; and Home Constitutional and Legal Affairs; and is also currently a member of the Joint Committee on Human Rights.
Her voting record has been summarised from Public Whip. She has voted moderately against introducing ID cards, more EU integration, a stricter asylum system and the hunting ban. She has voted against equal gay rights. She has voted in favour of taking steps to combat climate change. She voted moderately for greater autonomy for schools. She has never voted on allowing ministers to intervene in inquests.
She became Chief Executive of the Advertising Association in 2007, where she led the implementation of the Change4Life campaign, a Government-sponsored scheme backed by consumer and media brands which was designed to tackle obesity across the UK. Marketing Week editor Stuart Smith described Buscombe as "the most formidable advocate the commercial communications sector has seen in years".
She became chair of the Press Complaints Commission in April 2009. Under her leadership the Press Complaints Commission came under criticism for the inadequacy of its investigation into the phone hacking scandal at the News of the World. The editor of one national newspaper was quoted as saying "it was never given the power or the teeth to do anything. When it takes testimony from newspapers it is very limited. News International ran rings around John Yates, one of the most senior policemen in the country, so it was easy to run rings around Baroness Buscombe."
In November 2010, the Commission formally apologised and paid £20,000 in libel damages to Mark Lewis, a lawyer representing phone hacking victims, following misleading remarks made by Buscombe in a speech to the Society of Editors. It is believed to be the first successful libel action brought against the now defunct press watchdog, whose code of conduct opened with a requirement for the press to "take care not to publish inaccurate, misleading or distorted information". She announced her resignation as PCC chair in 2011.
She is a non-executive director of Affinity Water plc (formerly Three Valleys Water) and Local World Ltd and is also chairman of the advisory board of Samaritans. She is a governor at Langley Hall Primary Academy in Langley, Berkshire.
She married Philip Buscombe in 1980. They have three children.
- "Forthcoming Marriages", The Times, 21 March 1980
- Bell, Matthew (22 November 2009). "The Tory peer who wants to convince us the PCC has teeth". The Independent (London). Retrieved 22 November 2009.
- Dan Sabbagh (13 October 2011). "Lord Hunt of Wirral named chairman of Press Complaints Commission". The Guardian. Retrieved 13 October 2011.
- Josh Halliday and Roy Greenslade (29 July 2011). "PCC chair expected to resign after NoW phone hacking scandal". The Guardian. Retrieved 31 March 2015.
- The London Gazette: . 30 July 1998.
- Lisa O'Carroll, "The future of regulation after the PCC", The Guardian, 14 July 2011 
- Phone hacking - PCC £20,000 libel payout
- Nick Davies, "PCC chairman faces resignation call following high court apology", The Guardian, 25 November 2010. 
- Sweney, Mark (29 July 2011). "PCC confirms Baroness Buscombe is to step down". The Guardian. Retrieved 29 July 2011.
- Personal website
- Profile at Parliament of the United Kingdom
- Contributions in Parliament at Hansard 1803–2005
- Current session contributions in Parliament at Hansard
- Voting record at PublicWhip.org
- Record in Parliament at TheyWorkForYou.com
- Profile at Westminster Parliamentary Record
- Profile at BBC News Democracy Live
- Peta Buscombe collected news and commentary at The Guardian
|Chair of the Press Complaints Commission