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Friday, 16 February, 2001, 11:59 GMT
Baroness Jay 'to quit cabinet'
Lady Jay
Lady Jay helped push through Lords reforms
Baroness Jay, Leader of the House of Lords, is expected to shortly announce that she will leave the cabinet at the general election, according to reports.

But it is understood her decision has nothing to do with the considerable press criticism to which she has been subjected since she assumed her present role in 1998.

It is believed that the motivation would be to enable Baroness Jay, who at 61 is the second oldest member of the cabinet after John Prescott, to spend more time with her family.

A government source told BBC News Online that it would "not be an amazing shock" if Lady Jay was to decide to leave the cabinet.

A report in the Daily Telegraph newspaper suggested that her husband Professor Michael Adler, an Aids specialist, is keen for her to leave front-line politics.

A spokeswoman for the Cabinet Office refused to comment on the speculation, saying only: "There has been no formal announcement."

Tumultuous reform

Lady Jay, daughter of the former Labour prime minister, Lord Callaghan "presided" over the tumultuous reform of the House of Lords which lead to the removal of more than 600 hereditary peers.

She has been a forthright figure in the House of Lords and is generally regarded as someone who should not be crossed politically.

She has been nicknamed in the past by some Tory peers as either Posh or Scary Spice.

Television career

Lady Jay, a member of the Labour Party since her teens, has also been minister for women.

She was health minister from 1997-98 as well as being deputy leader of the house during that period.

Before Labour's election victory in 1997, she was an Opposition whip and health spokesman in the Lords.

Prior to politics, Lady Jay held various posts in TV current affairs and education programming.

She worked with the BBC between 1965 and 1977 and worked as a reporter on the current affairs programme Panorama for a period.

She was married to former UK ambassador to Washington and economist Peter Jay between 1961 and 1986, having one son and two daughters.

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See also:

04 Feb 00 | UK Politics
The Lady in the Lords
03 Jun 00 | UK Politics
Baroness 'lied' about schooling
18 Jul 00 | UK Politics
Lords should declare interests - Jay
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