First black woman cabinet minister and joint first black woman peer and recently appointed Leader of the House of Lords, the third woman in history to lead the upper house of Parliament
Baroness Amos is one of three black peers that sit in the House of Lords. She was created a life peer in 1997. She is what is referred as ‘a working peer’, and is currently the Secretary of State for International Development
Prior to her appointment as Secretary of State for International Development, Baroness Amos was appointed Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Foreign & Commonwealth Affairs in June 2001 with responsibility for Africa, the Commonwealth, the Caribbean, Overseas Territories, Consular Issues and FCO Personnel.
Previously she was the Government Whip from 1998 to 2001 and a co-opted member, European Union Sub-committee F (Social Affairs, Education and Home Affairs) from 1997-98.
She was spokesperson for social security 1998-2001, international development since 1998, women’s issues 1998-2001, and foreign and commonwealth office 2001
Born in March 1954 in Guyana, Valerie Ann Amos began her career in local government, working in various London boroughs from 1981 to 1989. She was educated at Townley Grammar School for Girls before completing a degree in sociology at Warwick University in 1976, a master’s degree in cultural studies from Birmingham University in 1977 and doctoral research at University of East Anglia.
She was chief executive of the Equal Opportunities Commission from 1989 to 1994, and then director of Amos Fraser Bernard from 1995 to 1998.
She was deputy chair of the Runnymede Trust, a trustee of Institute of Public Policy Research and involved in Project Hope, an NGO which promotes healthcare.
Her charity works involved being the chair of the board of governors at Royal College of Nursing Institute from 1994 to 1998 and one of the directors of Hampstead Theatre