Ministerial role

Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for International Development


The Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (PUSS) is a junior ministerial role at the Department for International Development. The PUSS is responsible for steering and monitoring the performance and delivery of DFID’s work in the following areas:

  • West and Southern Africa
  • East and Central Africa
  • Europe
  • Research and evidence
  • Governance and open societies
  • Inclusive societies, including civil society, eliminating violence against women and girls, FGM, disability and LGBT
  • Climate and environment
  • Human development, including education, health and water and sanitation
  • The Global Fund to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria
  • The Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisations
  • The Global Partnership for Education
  • The Global Polio Eradication Initiative

Current role holder: Baroness Northover

Baroness Northover was appointed to the role of Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for International Development on 4 November 2014.

She was previously Lead Government Spokesperson in the House of Lords for DFID from September 2011 to November 2014, lead Government Spokesperson for Women and Equalities (2012-14), and government whip and spokesperson for Justice (2010-12), Law Officers (2010-11), DFID (2010-11), DCMS (2012-13), Defra (2012-14) , Health (2010-2013) , Women and Equalities (2010-12), Education (2013-14).

She is a Liberal Democrat member of the House of Lords.


Baroness Northover studied at Oxford University, later winning scholarships to the USA where she gained her master’s and PhD.

Political career

Baroness Northover entered the House of Lords in 2000 and was appointed Health Spokesperson. In 2002 she became Liberal Democrat Front Bench Spokesperson on International Development. As a member of the House of Lords Select Committee on the European Union, she served on the Sub Committees on Foreign Affairs, Defence and International Development, and Economic Affairs, Finance and International Trade. She was Chair of Women Liberal Democrats, the Health and Welfare Association and a trustee of the Liberal Democrats.

Career outside politics

Baroness Northover was a lecturer at University College, London, and the Wellcome Institute. She is a former trustee of UNICEF and the Tropical Health and Education Trust, a council member of the Overseas Development Institute and Vice Chair of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association.

Previous holders of this role

  1. The Rt Hon Lynne Featherstone

    • 2012 to 2014
  2. The Rt Hon Stephen O’Brien

    • 2010 to 2012


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