St Albans peer Baroness Ashton win top European Union job

PUBLISHED: 11:14 20 November 2009 | UPDATED: 14:41 06 May 2010

Baroness Ashton

Baroness Ashton

A LABOUR peer from St Albans has landed a top EU job following a meeting of European leaders in Brussels last night. Baroness Ashton of Upholland, aged 53, has been awarded the post of EU high representative for Foreign Affairs and security despite having

A LABOUR peer from St Albans has landed a top EU job following a meeting of European leaders in Brussels last night.

Baroness Ashton of Upholland, aged 53, has been awarded the post of EU high representative for Foreign Affairs and security despite having never held elected office before. Belgian prime minister Herman Van Rompuy was appointed the first president of the European Council on the same night.

Lady Ashton, who is married to political commentator and president of British polling company YouGov Peter Kellner, was a government minister for eight years, latterly as leader of the House of Lords, before being chosen to replace Lord Mandelson as EU Trade Commissioner last year.

Lady Ashton and her family, including two grown-up children Katherine and Michael, have lived in St Albans for much of their lives and, as well as being a governor for Bernards Heath Infant School in St Albans, Lady Ashton was also chairman of Hertfordshire health authority between 1998 and 2001.

Former MP for St Albans Kerry Pollard, who has known Lady Ashton for 15 years, described himself as a "big, big fan" of Lady Ashton and added: "I am absolutely delighted at her appointment. I know her to be a very innovative woman who's pro-active and likes to get things done. She was popular with Bernards Heath School staff and parents during her role as governor there and I have no doubt that she will succeed in her newfound role."

LibDem parliamentary candidate for St Albans Sandy Walkington also offered his congratulations: "She is one of those rare people in the political world who delivers more than she promises. All throughout her political career people have expressed surprise at her appointment and then pleasure at what she has accomplished.

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