Ministerial role

Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen at Arms (Lords Chief Whip)


Lords Whips have the same constitutional position as departmental ministers. Their role in the House of Lords is different from that of Whips in the Commons, which is predominantly party management.

A Lords Whip has an active role at the despatch box promoting and defending departmental policy which involves:

  • answering questions
  • responding to debates
  • taking through primary and secondary legislation

If the department concerned does not have a departmental minister in the House of Lords, all of that department’s business will fall to a Whip.

Current role holder

The Rt Hon Baroness Williams of Trafford

Baroness Williams was appointed Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms (Lords Chief Whip) on 7 September 2022.

She was previously appointed Minister of State at the Home Office on 17 July 2016. She is a Conservative member of the House of Lords. In March 2022 she was made a member of the Privy Council.


Baroness Williams was educated at La Sagesse High School and the University of Huddersfield, from which she was awarded a a BSc Hons in Nutrition.

Political career

Baroness Williams was a member of Trafford Metropolitan Borough Council between 1998 and 2011, serving as leader of the Conservative group between 2002 and 2009 and as Council Leader between 2004 and 2009. She was raised to the peerage in 2013. She previously served as Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Communities and Local Government from May 2015 until July 2016.

Career outside politics

Baroness Williams was a non-executive director of the North West Development Agency between 2007 and 2011 and was the Chair (North West) of the Heritage Lottery Fund between 2011 and 2012. She has also served on the board of the Central Salford Urban Regeneration Company and as a member of the Greater Manchester Police Authority.

More recently she was a director of the North West Rail Campaign and executive director of Atlantic Gateway.

Personal life

Baroness Williams is married and has a son and 2 daughters.

More about this person

Previous holders of this role

  1. The Rt Hon Lord Ashton of Hyde

    2019 to 2022

  2. The Rt Hon Lord Taylor of Holbeach CBE

    2014 to 2019

  3. The Rt Hon Baroness Anelay of St Johns DBE

    2010 to 2014