Baroness Crawley of Edgbaston was born in Wicklow, Ireland and educated in Plymouth at Holy Cross Primary School and Notre Dame Secondary School where she was Head Girl. She trained as a teacher and youth theatre leader but quickly became involved with politics, joining the Labour Party and becoming secretary of the local branch. She was elected as a town and district councillor in South Oxfordshire before her election to the European Parliament in 1984 as Member for Birmingham East. There, she was active on the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality, chairing the committee from 1989 to 2003 and helping to push through the European Maternity Leave Directive into British law.
Baroness Crawley spent 14 years as an MEP before she was appointed to the House of Lords in 1998. She has held multiple Government portfolios during her time in the Lords, including International Development, Northern Ireland, Transport, Universities and Skills, Children, Schools and Families, Defence and Foreign & Commonwealth Office. In 2010, she was Opposition Deputy Chief Whip and has been until recently Opposition Spokesperson for Education and Northern Ireland. Currently, she is President of the Trading Standards Institute and Chair of the Consumer Codes Approval Board.
Baroness Crawley is an Ambassador of the Alzheimer’s Society and, as member of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Dementia, has been a supporter of dementia-friendly communities, working with Plymouth in support of the City’s dementia-friendly initiative. She has helped further women’s interests through her work with the Women’s National Commission. She is also President of the Tempsford Memorial to the SOE Women of World War Two and patron of the London children’s orchestra ECCO.