Government and opposition: the agony and ecstasy

Posted by pt91 at May 04, 2011 12:19 PM |
Lord William ‘Willy’ Bach to speak at University of Leicester on 20th May at 6.30pm

Lord William ‘Willy’ Bach, Labour Member of the House of Lords, is to speak at the next meeting of the University of Leicester’s  Haldane Society on Friday 20th May at 6.30pm.

Lord Bach, whose talk is entitled ‘Government and Opposition: The Agony and the Ecstasy’, is a former Leicester barrister and local councillor and an Honorary Graduate of the University of Leicester.

He comes from a family of radical activists dating back to Victorian times and including members of the Suffragette movement.

Since 1998 he has been Baron Bach of Lutterworth and has served in a number of roles in the Labour Government, the latest of which was as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State in the Ministry of Justice, until May 2010.

He is also a keen supporter of Leicester City Football Club, where he has been a season ticket holder for nearly forty years.

For about a decade longer than this the University of Leicester Haldane Society has provided a meeting place for “town and gown” where distinguished speakers such as Lord Bach can address a wide range of topical issues, exploring the boundary between academic study and practical, everyday concerns.

Meetings take place three times a year, in November, February and May, involving a speaker, followed by a wine reception and dinner. More information is on the website:

Membership of the Haldane Society is open to everyone and non-members are welcome at meetings by tickets obtained in advance. Tickets for Lord Bach’s talk are free and are available up to 13th May. All tickets and details of membership can be obtained from Vicky Orson Wright, tel: (0116) 252 2142, email:

The Haldane Society is named in memory of the First Viscount Haldane, who chaired a Royal Commission on University Education, and who was instrumental in the establishment of provincial universities and in the creation of the University Grants Committee.

He was the first Official Visitor to the Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland College, which subsequently became the University of Leicester.

Notes to Editors: A biography of Lord William ‘Willy’ Bach follows. Further details about the event are available from Vicky Orson-Wright, Secretary of the Haldane Society, Department of Chemistry, University of Leicester, tel 0116 252 2142, email

See also the Haldane Society Web Site at:

William “Willy” Stephen Goulden Bach was born in London in 1946. He was educated at Westminster School and then New College, Oxford, before being called to the Bar in 1972. He served as a barrister and a local councillor in Leicester and was made Head of Chambers at King Street Chambers in Leicester on the Midland Circuit in 1996.

Willy Bach has been active in politics since University and is a lifelong member of the Labour Party. This is perhaps not surprising, given that his family tradition of political activism stems from the Goulden family, who were Victorian radicals in Manchester. His great-aunt, Emmeline Goulden, married into the Pankhurst family and became one of the leaders of the suffragette campaign that led to women being given the vote. His grandmother, Ada Bach, born a Goulden, also provides a connection with the law, since she once spent three weeks in Holloway Prison as a result of her suffragette activities

In 1998, Bach was raised to the peerage, as Baron Bach of Lutterworth in the County of Leicestershire – where he lives. He was appointed a Government whip in the Lords in 1999 and so, officially, one of Her Majesty's "Lords in Waiting". From November 2000, Lord Bach served as a Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State in the Lord Chancellor's Department, until June 2001 when, after the general election, Lord Bach replaced The Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence Procurement – one of the most high-profile jobs in the Ministry of Defence.

Following the 2005 general election, Lord Drayson succeeded Lord Bach at the Ministry of Defence and Lord Bach was transferred to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State responsible for Sustainable Farming and Food. He held this post until 2006, when he returned to the back benches. As of October 2008, Lord Bach was brought back into government as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice replacing former Lord Hunt of Kings Heath OBE.

Lord Bach was chairman of the SELEX Sensors and Airborne Systems SpA Board of Directors from September 2006 until November 2007, when he resigned from the board in order to return to his role as a government whip. In October 2008, Lord Bach was promoted to become a Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State in the Ministry of Justice, where he served until May 2010.

In his limited spare time, Willy Bach is a devotee of American crime fiction and of Leicester City Football Club. He has been a season ticket holder at City for nearly forty years, supporting them through triumphs and disasters. He is married with three children.

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