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Baroness Patricia Scotland becomes first UK citizen to be elected secretary‑general of Commonwealth

November 27, 2015

By Mark Leftly

Baroness Patricia Scotland, who was the Attorney General under Gordon Brown, has become the first British citizen to be elected secretary‑general of the Commonwealth in its 66-year history. 

Baroness Scotland, 60, is also the first woman to hold the role. She was the first black woman to be made a Queen’s Council in 1991. Her election was announced at the leaders’ summit of 53 Commonwealth nations in Malta yesterday.

Baroness Scotland will take over next year, having defeated the perceived frontrunner, Sir Ronald Sanders, who was previously Antigua and Barbuda’s High Commissioner to the UK. Baroness Scotland will receive a salary of nearly £160,000, as well as a four‑storey mansion in Mayfair, for what is considered one of the world’s top diplomatic jobs. 

In 2009 she was forced to pay £5,000 when in the cabinet because the visa of her Tongan nanny, Loloahi Tapui, had run out five years earlier. 

David Cameron did not publicly back Baroness Scotland, but said yesterday she was “the right person” to promote “human rights, democracy and the rule of law”.