Ann Taylor

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Revolving Door.jpg This article is part of the Revolving Door project of Spinwatch.

Ann Taylor was a Labour MP from 1974 to 2005, when she entered the House of Lords as Baroness Taylor of Bolton.[1]

A former Labour defence minister, Lady Taylor was controversially appointed as an adviser to a French arms firm Thales in 2010 after Labour lost the general election. The firm supplies the British government with billions of pounds worth of equipment.

Key parliamentary roles

  • Shadow secretary of state from 1992 to 1995
  • Chair of the intelligence and security committee between 2001 and 2005
  • Chief whip under prime minister Tony Blair from 1998 to 2001.
  • Entered the House of Lords as Baroness Taylor of Bolton in 2005 where she held two ministerial briefs:
  • Minister for Defence Equipment between 2007 and 2008
  • Minister for International Defence and Security between 2008 and 2010 [1]

Revolving door: joins arms firm board

Lady Taylor joined the board of the arms contractor Thales in 2010. Thales had been part of the consortium supplying two aircraft carriers that were £1.541bn over budget.[2]

Taylor had had various contacts with Thales while she was at the Ministry of Defence as well as in several defence committees. In 2008, she had visited Thales' British headquarters in Crawley, West Sussex, to see their £700m Watchkeeper unmanned plane, or "drone", programme. She also met with their staff at two arms exhibitions and at an international strategic think tank in 2009. In November of that same year, she announced the government was deciding whether it could arm the Thales drones. [3]

Despite this, the prime minister's Advisory Committee on Business Appointments at the time saw no reason why Taylor should not join the board of Thales, subject to ACOBA's usual two-year lobbying ban, whereby she should not be personally involved in lobbying UK ministers or Crown servants, including special advisers, on behalf of the arms firm. [4]

Chair of 'Snoopers Charter' committee

In 2015 Taylor was approached by the home secretary Theresa May and accepted the job of chairing a joint committee on the controversial investigatory powers bill, commonly referred to as the ‘Snooper’s Charter’. [6]


  1. 1.0 1.1 [ Baroness Taylor of Bolton],, accessed 12 September 2017, previous URL now broken [1] 17 December 2010.
  2. Rajeev Syal and Solomon Hughes, Ex-defence minister joins arms firm behind MoD £1.5bn overspend,, 17 December 2010.
  3. Rajeev Syal and Solomon Hughes, Ex-defence minister joins arms firm behind MoD £1.5bn overspend, The Guardian, 17 December 2010. Accessed 27 September 2016.
  4. Advisory Committee on Business Appointments, Annual Report 2010-11
  5. Ann Taylor, accessed 27 September 2016.
  6. Rowena MasonTheresa May to appoint Labour peer to scrutinise snooper's charter,, Monday 12 October 2015.