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Tuesday, 25 July, 2000, 00:49 GMT 01:49 UK
The new Iron Lady
Baroness Young
Baroness Young became the first woman leader of the House of Lords
The leader of the House of Lords campaign to retain Section 28, Baroness Young, has long had the reputation for being the Conservative Party's second Iron Lady.

Lady Young, who played rugby football as a schoolgirl, was the only woman former prime minister Lady Thatcher promoted to Cabinet rank in her 11 years in power.

On Monday night the 73-year-old baroness, a long-time campaigner for "family values", celebrated the greatest victory of her career, leading peers in the vote to keep the controversial Section 28.

It is a victory which looks set to cement her reputation as a dedicated protector of the "traditional" view of family values.

The original Iron Lady, Lady Thatcher, was one of her supporters in the campaign to keep the controversial clause.

Like her role model, it seems Baroness Young was always destined to become a leader, despite never fulfilling her ambition to become an MP.

She was made a life peeress in 1971 and became the first woman Leader of the House of Lords.

Strong agenda

Preserving family values always figured strongly on her agenda.

After her ministerial career was over, she campaigned against John Major's government's highly contentious no-fault divorce legislation.

Janet Mary Young was born on 23 October, 1926, the daughter of an Oxford don.

She was educated at the Dragon School, Oxford, Headington School, and in New Haven, Connecticut, returning to St Anne's, Oxford, to read modern greats.

A keen sportswoman, she shone at cricket and rugby at the Dragon School, which was a boys' school.

Independent spirit

That period of her life also seemed to toughen her up for her work to come.

She once said of her time there: "No allowances were made, and it taught me independence of spirit and how to stand up for myself in society."

A 15-year stint on Oxford City Council followed her education, and she eventually became the leader of its Tory Group.

In 1971, the then Prime Minister, Edward Heath, awarded her a life peerage.

She was made a whip in the House of Lords in 1972 and the following year became a junior environment minister.

Under Mrs Thatcher, Lady Young became Minister of State for Education, where she had responsibility for schools and teacher employment.

But she rose to national prominence in 1982 when she became Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Leader of the House of Lords.

Married for half a century to Geoffrey Young, she has three daughters and is patron of several charities, including Family and Youth Concern.

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See also:

24 Jul 00 | UK Politics
Section 28: An overview
24 Jul 00 | Education
Section 28 more symbol than substance
18 Jul 00 | Education
Sex guidelines threat defeated
31 May 00 | UK
The Section 28 battle
24 Jun 00 | Scotland
S28 debate - one to remember?
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