Posted on 31/07/2012
BSc Social Science & Administration, 1977 Bedford College and Honorary Fellow
Catherine Ashton, Baroness Ashton of Upholland is a Labour politician who served as the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and First Vice President of the European Commission in the Barroso Commission from 2009 to 2014. Her political career began in 1999 when she was created a Life Peer as Baroness Ashton of Upholland by Tony Blair's Labour Government. She became the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State in the Department for Education and Skills in 2001 and subsequently in the Ministry of Justice in 2004. She was appointed a Privy Councillor in May 2006. Ashton became Leader of the House of Lords and Lord President of the Council in Gordon Brown’s first Cabinet in June 2007. She was instrumental in steering the EU's Treaty of Lisbon through the UK Parliament's second chamber. In 2008, she was appointed as the British European Commissioner and became the Commissioner for Trade in the European Commission. In December 2009, she became the inaugural High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy that was created by the Treaty of Lisbon. As High Representative, Ashton served as the EU's foreign policy chief. It was announced on 17 November 2016 that Ashton will become Chancellor of the University of Warwick from 1 January 2017, succeeding Sir Richard Lambert and becoming Warwick's first female Chancellor.