Hawick-born Lib Dem activist set to join House of Lords

Alison Suttie
Alison Suttie

Borderer Alison Suttie is being elevated to the peerage in the latest round of appointments to the House of Lords.

Born and brought up in Hawick, Ms Suttie worked at the European Parliament, ran the Lib Dems’ general election campaign in 2010 and then spent time as Nick Clegg’s deputy chief of staff when the Lib Dem leader was first deputy prime minister.

Ms Suttie is one of 30 new life peers announced by Prime Minister David Cameron, with 14 coming from within the ranks of his own Tory party, together with 10 Lib Dems and five from the Labour Party.

Ms Suttie is the daughter of late Hawick GP, Dr Alastair Suttie, and his wife, Gillian, who still lives in the town.

She currently works as a consultant training civil servants and engaging in democracy building work in Tunisia and Moldova.

“I’ve not quite not quite taken it in yet,” Ms Suttie, who was educated in Hawick and at Heriot-Watt University, told The Southern this week.

“I won’t start as a peer until about October and the swearing in ceremony. There’s now, I think, 99 Lib Dem peers and I very much intend to be a working peer, hopefully focusing on the areas of international development and human rights, as well as the issue of homelessness, which is a personal interest of mine.”

Ms Suttie says it has still not definitely been decided what her new title will be: “But I think it will simply be just plain Baroness Suttie.”

She still considers Hawick to be home and told us her mother was thrilled with the news of her daughter’s appointment.

“I am back in Hawick quite a lot to see my mum and she is delighted, although it’s perhaps not what she was expecting.

“I will be committed to being a full-time working peer when the house is sitting. When it’s not sitting I will still be involved in training and teaching.”

One of 10 new Lib Dem peers, Ms Suttie will join a total of 30 new members of the House of Lords, with the others including businessman and Conservative donor Sir Anthony Bamford, former police officer Brian Paddick and the Green Party’s Jenny Jones.

There are currently 755 active peers, with nominations for peerages put forward by each of the party leaders and vetted by the House of Lords.