Sal Brinton

Sarah Virginia Brinton, Baroness Brinton[1] (born 1 April 1955), known as Sal Brinton, is a British politician who served as President of the Liberal Democrats from 2015 to 2020. In November 2010 she was nominated to the House of Lords,[2] taking her place on 10 February 2011[3] having been created Baroness Brinton, of Kenardington in the County of Kent on 4 February.[4] After Jo Swinson lost her seat at the 2019 United Kingdom general election, Brinton and Sir Ed Davey became acting co-leaders of the Liberal Democrats.[5][6]

The Baroness Brinton
Brinton in 2018
Leader of the Liberal Democrats
13 December 2019  1 January 2020
Serving with Sir Ed Davey
DeputySir Ed Davey
Preceded byJo Swinson
Succeeded bySir Ed Davey & Mark Pack (acting)
President of the Liberal Democrats
In office
1 January 2015  1 January 2020
LeaderNick Clegg
Tim Farron
Sir Vince Cable
Jo Swinson
Davey · Herself
Preceded byTim Farron
Succeeded byMark Pack
Member of the House of Lords
Lord Temporal
Assumed office
10 February 2011
Life peerage
Personal details
Sarah Virginia Brinton

(1955-04-01) 1 April 1955 (age 66)
Paddington, London, England
Political partyLiberal Democrats
Other political
Alma materCentral School of Speech and Drama
Churchill College, Cambridge

Early life and education

Brinton was born in Paddington, London in 1955.[7] She is the daughter of former Conservative MP Tim Brinton,[8] and the cousin of Mary Stocks, Baroness Stocks.

Brinton was educated at Benenden School and studied stage management at the Central School of Speech and Drama. She subsequently completed a degree in English literature from Churchill College, Cambridge in 1981.[9][10]


Beginning her career in the mid 1970s at the BBC as a television floor manager, working on programmes including Playschool, Grandstand and Doctor Who, Brinton joined the Liberal Party in 1975[7] and became a Cambridgeshire County Councillor in 1993. She contested the parliamentary seat of South East Cambridgeshire at the 1997 and 2001 general elections.[citation needed]

Baroness Brinton was Bursar of Lucy Cavendish College, Cambridge, from 1992 to 1997,[11] and Selwyn College, Cambridge, from 1997 to 2002.[12] In 1997 she won the East Anglian entrepreneurial businesswoman of the year award. She was also founder member of the Board of the East of England Development Agency from December 1998 to December 2004 (Deputy Chair from 2001 to 2004).[citation needed]

From 1999 to 2004, Baroness Brinton chaired the Cambridgeshire Learning and Skills Council.[13] She contested the Watford constituency at the 2005 and 2010 General Elections coming second to Labour and the Conservatives respectively. She is a non-executive director of the Ufi Charitable Trust, a charity giving grants in the vocational educational technology sector.[14]

Baroness Brinton is a member of the Liberal Democrat Federal Policy Committee and Vice Chair of the Federal Conference Committee.[15] She also chairs the Liberal Democrat Diversity Engagement Group and has a particular interest in increasing the number of women, black, Asian, and minority ethnic MPs.[16] Baroness Brinton was a member of the All Party Stalking Inquiry of 2011.[17]

In 2014, Baroness Brinton was elected as the President of the Liberal Democrats, defeating Daisy Cooper and Liz Lynne, and took up her position on 1 January 2015.[18]

Personal life

Brinton has rheumatoid arthritis and so usually uses a wheelchair. She met her husband Tim when she worked at the BBC. Brinton lives with Tim and their family in Watford.[7]


In 2003, Brinton was awarded an honorary PhD for her contribution to education, skills and learning by Anglia Ruskin University.[19] In November 2013, she was made a Fellow of Birkbeck, University of London.[20] She is Patron of Christian Blind Mission UK, Trustee of the United Kingdom Committee of UNICEF, a Trustee of the Ufi Charitable Trust, and a Director of the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust Ltd.[21]

Coat of arms of Sal Brinton
Per pale Argent and Gules a lion salient double queued between three annulets counterchanged.
Dexter a British WW1 fighter pilot vested Proper; sinister an archer bearded Proper vested Vert collared Argent cuffed and belted Or the crossbelt Sable buckled Argent booted and holding in the sinister hand a longbow Proper wearing a hat Vert attached thereto two plumes Argent.
Lex Et Salus (Law & Health)[22]


  1. "In full: New working peers". 19 November 2010 via
  2. Bowcott, Owen (19 November 2010). "Party donors and political apparatchiks appointed working peers". The Guardian. Retrieved 19 November 2010.
  3. "House of Lords Hansard for 10 Feb 2011 ( pt 1 )". Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). House of Lords. 10 February 2011. col. 347.
  4. "No. 59695". The London Gazette. 9 February 2011. p. 2247.
  5. "Jo Swinson quits as Lib Dem leader after shock loss". Evening Standard. 13 December 2019. Retrieved 16 June 2020.
  6. "Sir Ed Davey and Baroness Sal Brinton will become the joint acting leaders of the Liberal Democrats following Jo Swinson's election defeat, the party has said". LBC. Retrieved 13 December 2019.
  7. "About Sal (Sal Brinton)". Retrieved 15 February 2021.
  8. "Tim Brinton". 29 March 2009 via
  9. "". Archived from the original on 10 March 2016.
  10. Profile Archived 21 March 2014 at the Wayback Machine, Cambridge University News; accessed 20 March 2014
  11. "For staff".
  12. "Power players for the regions". 1 January 1999.
  13. "Cambridgeshire Learning and Skills Council". Archived from the original on 21 March 2014.
  14. "UFI Charitable Trust, Dr Sal Brinton". Archived from the original on 8 December 2013.
  15. (22 January 2014). "Sal Brinton". Liberal Democrats.
  16. "Liberal Democrat Leadership Programme" Archived 2 September 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  17. "Protection Against Stalking" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 20 April 2013.
  18. "Sal Brinton elected as new Liberal Democrat Party President". 29 November 2014. Retrieved 29 November 2014.
  19. "Honorary award holders – Anglia Ruskin University".
  20. "Baroness Brinton — Birkbeck, University of London".
  21. Profile,; accessed 20 March 2014.
  22. Debrett's Peerage. 2019.