Ann Taylor, Baroness Taylor of Bolton

Winifred Ann Taylor, Baroness Taylor of Bolton, PC (born 2 July 1947)[1] is a British Labour Party politician, who was Minister for International Defence and Security, based at both the Ministry of Defence and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, from October 2008 until 11 May 2010. She served as Member of Parliament (MP) for Bolton West from 1974 to 1983 and for Dewsbury from 1987 to 2005. After standing down she was appointed a life peeress in the House of Lords.

The Baroness Taylor of Bolton

Official portrait of Baroness Taylor of Bolton, December 2019
Ministerial offices 2007-2010
Minister of State for International Defence and Security
In office
5 October 2008  11 May 2010
Prime MinisterGordon Brown
Preceded byPosition established
Succeeded byGerald Howarth (International Security Strategy)
Minister of State for Defence Equipment and Support
In office
7 November 2007  5 October 2008
Prime MinisterGordon Brown
Preceded byThe Lord Drayson
Succeeded byQuentin Davies
Chairperson of the Intelligence and Security Committee
In office
9 June 2001  11 April 2005
Prime MinisterTony Blair
Preceded byTom King
Succeeded byPaul Murphy
Ministerial offices 1997-2001
Chief Whip of the House of Commons
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury
In office
27 July 1998  8 June 2001
Prime MinisterTony Blair
DeputyKeith Bradley
Preceded byNick Brown
Succeeded byHilary Armstrong
Leader of the House of Commons
Lord President of the Council
In office
2 May 1997  27 July 1998
Prime MinisterTony Blair
Preceded byTony Newton
Succeeded byMargaret Beckett
Shadow cabinet offices 1992-1997
Shadow Leader of the House of Commons
In office
20 October 1994  2 May 1997
LeaderTony Blair
ShadowingTony Newton
Preceded byMargaret Beckett
Succeeded byAlastair Goodlad
Shadow Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
Shadow Minister for the Citizen's Charter
In office
20 October 1994  19 October 1995
LeaderTony Blair
ShadowingDavid Hunt
Roger Freeman
Preceded byMichael Meacher
Succeeded byDerek Foster
Shadow Secretary of State for Education
In office
18 July 1992  20 October 1994
LeaderJohn Smith
Margaret Beckett (Acting)
ShadowingJohn Patten
Gillian Shephard
Preceded byJack Straw
Succeeded byDavid Blunkett
Member of the House of Lords
Lord Temporal
In office
14 June 2005
Life Peerage 
Parliamentary representation 1974-2005
Member of Parliament
for Dewsbury
In office
11 June 1987  11 April 2005
Preceded byJohn Whitfield
Succeeded byShahid Malik
Member of Parliament
for Bolton West
In office
10 October 1974  13 May 1983
Preceded byRobert Redmond
Succeeded byTom Sackville
Personal details
Born (1947-07-02) 2 July 1947 (age 73)
London, United Kingdom
Political partyLabour
Alma materUniversity of Bradford

Taylor served as an Assistant Whip in the Government of James Callaghan from 1977 to 1979. When she returned to the House of Commons in 1987, she became a shadow minister under Labour leader Neil Kinnock. She then served in the Shadow Cabinets of John Smith and Tony Blair. She went on to become the first woman to serve as Leader of the House of Commons of the United Kingdom, the first woman to serve as Lord President of the Privy Council and the first woman to serve as House of Commons Chief Whip (both in the First Blair Ministry).[2]

Early life

Taylor attended Bolton School and the University of Bradford, where she graduated with a BSc degree in Politics and History in 1969.[3]

House of Commons

Taylor fought Bolton West in February 1974 (failing to win by 603 votes), then was the Member of Parliament (MP) for the seat from October 1974 to 1983. She fought the new seat of Bolton North East in 1983, being defeated by the Conservative Peter Thurnham, before representing Dewsbury from 1987 until 2005.

Frontbench roles

Ann Taylor has held the following positions:

Backbenches and retirement

As a backbencher, Ann Taylor sponsored a Private Member's Bill, the 'Succession to the Crown (no 2)' Bill, which sought to eliminate gender and religious discrimination in the royal succession.[5]

Taylor stepped down from the House of Commons at the 2005 general election. The Constituency Labour Party selected Shahid Malik to be their candidate.

House of Lords

On 13 May 2005 it was announced that she was to be given a Life Peerage, and she was created Baroness Taylor of Bolton, of Bolton in the County of Greater Manchester, on 13 June 2005.[6]

She was made Minister for Defence Procurement on 7 November 2007, following Lord Drayson's decision to resign to compete in the American Le Mans Series; unlike her predecessor, she was paid.[7] Following the Brown reshuffle of October 2008, Lady Taylor was moved to a new post at the Ministry of Defence as Minister for International Defence and Security.[8]

Votes in Parliament

The Public Whip cites her as being "Very Strongly" for the Iraq War, equal gay rights, and NHS foundation trusts (despite being noted for voting against Conservative MP Edwina Currie's 1994 proposed amendment to the Public Order and Criminal Justice Bill to equalise the age of homosexual consent to 16).[9]

In popular culture

The 2012 play This House about the 1970s Labour Government prominently featured Ann Taylor as the first female whip.