Patricia Hollis, Baroness Hollis of Heigham

Patricia Lesley Hollis, Baroness Hollis of Heigham, PC, DL (née Wells; 24 May 1941 – 13 October 2018[1]) was a Labour member of the House of Lords of the United Kingdom.

The Baroness Hollis of Heigham

Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
In office
11 June 2001  10 May 2005
MonarchElizabeth II
Prime MinisterTony Blair
Preceded byHer self
Succeeded byThe Lord Hunt of Kings Heath
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Social Security
In office
6 May 1997  11 June 2001
MonarchElizabeth II
Prime MinisterTony Blair
Preceded byOliver Heald
Succeeded byHer self
Member of the House of Lords
Lord Temporal
In office
1 June 1990  13 October 2018
Life Peerage
Personal details
Born24 May 1941 (1941-05-24)
Died13 October 2018 (2018-10-14) (aged 77)
Political partyLabour
Alma materGirton College, Cambridge
University of California
Columbia University


Early life and education

Hollis was educated at Plympton Grammar School, at Girton College, Cambridge (BA), the University of California and Columbia University, New York (both where she was Harkness Fellow from 1962 to 1964), and at Nuffield College, Oxford (MA, DPhil).[2] While in the United States, Hollis was active in the civil rights movement, picketing segregated restaurants and helping hold voter registration drives in Mississippi.[3][4][5]

She was a lecturer in modern history, reader and Dean at the University of East Anglia in Norwich from 1967 until 1990. She served as a National Commissioner for English Heritage from 1988 until 1991. She was married to Martin Hollis, Professor of Philosophy at the University of East Anglia, from 1965 until his death in 1998: they had two sons.[6]

Political life

Patricia Hollis contested the Great Yarmouth constituency for Labour at the February 1974 general election, the October 1974 election and at the 1979 general election.[5] She became involved in local politics early in her career, serving on Norwich City Council from 1968 to 1991, and as Leader of the Council from 1983 to 1988.[4] Hollis served on the Press Council from 1988 to 1990. and was a director of Radio Broadland from 1983 until 1997.

She was created a life peer as Baroness Hollis of Heigham, of Heigham in the City of Norwich on 1 June 1990[7] and was an Opposition Whip in the House of Lords between 1990 and 1995, and Opposition Spokeswoman on Housing, Local Government, the Environment, Disability and Social Security from 1990. While in opposition she carried through the Lords the proposals for pension sharing on divorce which have now become law.

Hollis was Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department for Work and Pensions (previously Department of Social Security) from 5 May 1997 to the 2005 reshuffle,[4]

She was a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society,[8] an honorary fellow of Girton College, Cambridge and the author of several books on women's history and on labour history. Her book Jennie Lee - a life (1997), won the Orwell Prize for political biography and the Wolfson History Prize for the history book of the year.[8]

Personal life

Hollis was criticised in 2009 when it was claimed that she and her partner, Lord Howarth of Newport, lived next door to each other but both continued to claim expenses from the House of Lords.[9]

Hollis died in October 2018, aged 77, following a long illness.[10][4]



Other sources

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