St Albans peer takes over Peter Mandelson's old job

PUBLISHED: 12:29 23 October 2008 | UPDATED: 13:43 06 May 2010

Baroness Ashton

Baroness Ashton

A ST ALBANS peer has defeated critics in the European Parliament by a largel majority vote to be confirmed in her new role as EU Trade Commissioner. Baroness Catherine Ashton, aged 53, of Battlefield Road, St Albans, was made the UK nominee for the role

A ST ALBANS peer has defeated critics in the European Parliament by a largel majority vote to be confirmed in her new role as EU Trade Commissioner.

Baroness Catherine Ashton, aged 53, of Battlefield Road, St Albans, was made the UK nominee for the role after her predecessor Peter Mandelson was simultaneously elevated to the post of UK business secretary and ennobled to the House of Lords.

This week she was the subject of a European Parliamentary examination in Brussels to assess her suitability for the role.

Critics had implied she did not have relevant experience for the job but she said she had the authority to negotiate complex trade deals.

Yesterday (Wed) she received a massive vote of confidence with more than 80 per cent of the votes.

A former economist, she was appointed Leader of the House of Lords in 2007 as part of Gordon Brown's first Cabinet.

She is married to long-time political commentator Peter Kellner, who is currently president of pollsters YouGov, and they have two grown-up children, Katherine and Michael.

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