Lords Leader Lady Jay Is Set to Leave the Cabinet

Daily Mail (London), February 16, 2001 | Go to article overview

Lords Leader Lady Jay Is Set to Leave the Cabinet


Byline: REBECCA PAVELEY

BARONESS Jay is to step down from the Cabinet at the next election to spend more time with her family, friends said last night.

The Leader of the Lords and Minister for Women, who is a close friend of Tony Blair, announced her plans at a recent private meeting of Lords ministers.

She has faced stinging criticism from the press and colleagues over some of her comments and actions as Minister for Women and this was being mooted last night as a reason for her decision.

A close friend insisted, however: 'Margaret is leaving the Government but it is more about work/life balance reasons than anything else. She has been a minister long enough.'

The Baroness told friends that, at 61, she wants to spend more time with her family, particularly her young granddaughter.

Since being appointed in July 1998, her time in the leading posts have been dogged with controversy.

Only two days ago, it was revealed that the peer spent [pounds sterling]100,000 of taxpayers' money telling women looking for work to go to the JobCentre. Her advice was handed out at a high-profile official exhibition attended by four ministers.

The Baroness, who has been described as Labour's only true aristocrat, was also criticised for claiming in an interview last year that she did not approve of private education, despite sending her three children to top fee-paying schools.

The daughter of former Prime Minister James Callaghan, she also ran into trouble for claims over her own education, when she said she attended a 'pretty standard grammar school'. She had, as the Daily Mail revealed, attended Blackheath High School, a fee-paying independent school for girls in South London which has never been part of the state education system.

Tories accused her of 'utter hypocrisy'.

The Baroness also courted ridicule with her claim that she had a 'little cottage' in the country and, so, understood the problems of rural people.

In fact, she owns a [pounds sterling]500,000 house in Ireland and a substantial home in the Chilterns. …

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