UK: Murdered teen's mom gets Lords seat

2013-08-01 15:55
Doreen Lawrence, the mother of murdered black teenager Stephen Lawrence. (File, AP)

Doreen Lawrence, the mother of murdered black teenager Stephen Lawrence. (File, AP)

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London - The campaigning mother of a black teenager whose murder sparked a major overhaul of "racist" police was among Britons named as new lifelong members of parliament's upper house on Thursday.

She was among 30 new "working peers" formally appointed by the queen but in practice nominated by the main political parties.

The list also includes a Green politician, a radical ex-police officer, a former Paralympic swimmer and the founder of the Ministry of Sound superclub.

Doreen Lawrence, mother of Stephen Lawrence, who was murdered by a gang of white men in an unprovoked attack in 1993, will join the House of Lords as a representative of the left-wing opposition Labour party.

Her decades-long campaign for justice after her son's killing finally resulted in the convictions of two men in January 2012.

The attack on Stephen, aged 18, had already sparked a major overhaul of British policing after a report found the investigation into the murder was marred by "institutional racism".

Flag bearer

His Jamaican-born mother, aged 60, already appointed OBE (Order of the British Empire), set up the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust to help disadvantaged young people start careers in architecture and design.

She was also chosen to help carry the Olympic flag into the stadium at the start of last year's London Games.

London Assembly member Jenny Jones, a prominent member of the Green party, became only the third person to represent the environmentalist party in the Lords.

Among ten new members of the upper house from the centrist Liberal Democrats is James Palumbo, the co-founder and chairperson of the pioneering Ministry of Sound nightclub in London.

The more than 750-strong House of Lords, largely made up of appointed members, scrutinises legislation that has been passed by the elected lower House of Commons.

The appointments make the Conservatives the largest party in the Lords with 222 seats to Labour's 221 and the Liberal Democrats' 99.

Read more on:    racism

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