Boris Johnson’s controversial new baroness Charlotte Owen, 30, joins the House of Lords as youngest peer

24 July 2023, 16:22 | Updated: 24 July 2023, 16:34

Charlotte Owen took her seat in the House of Lords on Monday afternoon
Charlotte Owen took her seat in the House of Lords on Monday afternoon. Picture: House of Lords

By Asher McShane

A former adviser to Boris Johnson has become the youngest peer in the House of Lords after taking her seat in the unelected chamber.

Charlotte Owen was nominated to the Lords in the former prime minister's controversial resignation honours list in June.

The 30-year-old will be known as Baroness Owen of Alderley Edge and will sit as a Conservative peer.

Lady Owen's introduction was followed by that of Conservative Tees Valley mayor Ben Houchen, who will be known as Lord Houchen of High Leven.

The pair wore the traditional scarlet robes for their short introduction ceremonies.

Tees Valley mayor Ben Houchen was also introduced into the Lords today
Tees Valley mayor Ben Houchen was also introduced into the Lords today. Picture: House of Lords

A cross-party Lords report last week said Mr Johnson's exit honours had "brought into question" the current appointments system for creating new peers.

Lady Owen's biography issued by the House of Lords stated she graduated from the University of York in 2015 with a degree in politics and international relations.

It adds she worked as a parliamentary assistant to Conservative MPs Alok Sharma, Mr Johnson and Sir Jake Berry from 2017 until 2021.

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Lady Owen then worked as an adviser to Mr Johnson as prime minister, his successor Liz Truss and then chief whip Chris Heaton-Harris between 2021 and 2022.

Lord Houchen, 36, worked as a solicitor from 2009 to 2015 and chief executive of BLK Sport UK from 2016 to 2017, according to his bio.

He served as a councillor on Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council between 2011 and 2017, including as leader of the Conservative group from 2014.

Lord Houchen was elected Tees Valley mayor in 2017 and he is also chairman of the South Tees Development Corporation and chairman of the Teesside Freeport.

The Government ordered an independent investigation into the Teesworks project to redevelop Redcar's former steelworks, partly in response to a request from Lord Houchen.

In April, Labour MP Andy McDonald (Middlesbrough) raised concerns about the scheme in the Commons, alleging "truly shocking, industrial-scale corruption" around the site's ownership and funding.

Lord Houchen later went on BBC radio to accuse Mr McDonald of being a "liar and a coward".

Other allies of Mr Johnson have taken their seats in the House of Lords in recent weeks.

They included former Tory London mayoral candidate Shaun Bailey, who took part in a lockdown-busting Christmas party in December 2020 at Conservative Party headquarters, and 31-year-old Ross Kempsell, a former political director of the Conservative Party.

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