Shirley Williams (1930-2021)

The staff, members and council of Chatham House are very sad to hear of the death of Shirley Williams, Baroness of Crosby, who was president of the Institute from 2002-06.

Published 13 April 2021

In addition to serving as president, Baroness Williams delivered The Lord Garden Memorial Lecture following the 2010 general election where she succinctly spelled out the international challenges facing the first UK coalition government since 1945. She was also a senior adviser on the major 2010 report Rethinking the UK’s International Ambitions and Choices.

Shirley Williams had a long and distinguished political career entering the House of Commons in 1964 as a Labour MP and serving as Secretary of State for Education and Science from 1976-79. In 1981, she left Labour and was one of the founders of the Social Democratic Party which went on the merge with the Liberals to form the Liberal Democrats. She went on to be professor at the Kennedy School of Government between 1988 and 2001, before returning to British politics as Lib Dem leader in the House of Lords.

Robin Niblett, director of Chatham House, said ‘Shirley Williams brought her outstanding political insight and intellect to bear during her time with Chatham House. We have been proud to count her as one of the most distinguished leaders of the Institute and we send our deep condolences to her family for their loss.’

Speeches and discussions

The Lord Garden Memorial Lecture 2010 - transcript