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Elected Lord Speaker

LONDON: A baroness from Britain's governing Labour Party was confirmed on Tuesday as the first elected Lord Speaker of the House of Lords — part of Prime Minister Tony Blair's project to remodel the unelected upper chamber of Parliament. Helene Hayman (57) is the first person to fill the new position, which replaces the centuries-old office of Lord Chancellor. Baroness Hayman, who was appointed to the House of Lords in 1996, finished first in a field of nine candidates in Wednesday's election. The result was announced on Tuesday. As Lord Speaker, she will preside over debates from the Woolsack, formerly the seat of the Lord Chancellor. The innovation is one facet of Mr. Blair's modernisation project of the Upper House, which previously had been comprised of hereditary peers and peers appointed for life by consecutive governments. — AP

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