Cathy’s first job in the political arena came about when she became Paddy Ashdown’s secretary in the years before he was first elected MP for Yeovil in 1983 and she continued in that role for many years. Eventually she decided to play her own part in politics and was elected to Somerset County Council in May 1993.
Councillor Bakewell held a number of roles at Somerset County Council including Portfolio for Life Long Learning. She became the Leader of the County in 2001 and stood down from that role in May 2007. In May 2013 she stood down from the County Council entirely but has continued to play a very active role within the Local Government Association.
Elected to South Somerset District Council at a by-election in May 2009, Councillor Bakewell was re-elected in May 2011. She currently sits on the Scrutiny Committee and is the Portfolio Holder for the Family Focus programme and is also the Independent Chair of South Somerset Together, the District Council’s Strategic Partnership.
Duties at the House of Lords will include working in London from Monday to Wednesdays when the House of Lords is sitting. The main purpose of the work will be to scrutinise legislation coming through from the House of Commons, make amendments and when satisfied, pass the legislation into law and on to the Statute Books.
Upon learning the news, Councillor Cathy Bakewell said, “There are many others who have a greater claim and I am conscious of the trust that has been placed in me. I hope to speak for the ordinary man and woman in rural communities who are often overlooked in the powerhouses of London. I am very much looking forward to the challenge of scrutinising Government legislation and joining a well-established, cohesive team in the House of Lord.”
Councillor Ric Pallister, Leader of South Somerset District Council said, “Cathy and her family have been close personal friends for more than 30 years and I could not be more delighted by this appointment. She has an amazing capacity for hard work and never shirks from telling people how it really is; a characteristic that will make her invaluable to the people of South Somerset when she brings ground floor reality to key debates in the House. As an advocate for the people, her influence will benefit the future for many people and I know that she will challenge the “London-centric” world of Whitehall and the “establishment”. Her appointment is a major bonus for South Somerset.”