Biography & CV

CV      David Lipsey (Lord Lipsey of Tooting Bec)    October 2014


David Lipsey, b 1948, is a Labour peer. He has had wide range of experience as a regulator (including at the Personal Investment Authority and the Advertising Standards Authority); as a company director and chairman (at the Tote and Impower); as a journalist (as deputy editor of two national newspapers and editor of a social affairs weekly) and as a public policy expert (as chair of the Social Market Foundation think-tank and as a member of three official government inquiries). He was a special adviser to Rt Hon Anthony Crosland MP (1972-77) and to Rt Hon Jim Callaghan as prime minister (1977-79).`

Today’s posts :

Working Peer 1999-

David Lipsey attends the Lords almost every sitting day. He is a member of the House’s Information Committee, and was until May a member of its Economic Affairs Committee. Rather than attempting to speak on everything, he specialises in voting and elections, communications and broadcasting; gambling, horse racing and greyhound racing; some aspects of health, particularly care of the elderly; Lords reform; and financial services matters;. He chairs the all-party Statistics Group and the all-party Classical Music Group. He is vice-chair of the all-party Media Group and of the all-party Betting and Gaming Group.

He is a member of the board of the Starting Price Regulatory Commission.




Other unpaid current posts

David became chair of the Trinity Laban music conservatoire in October 2012.Since becoming chair, David has substantially revised TL’s governance so it is lean and fit for purpose. Board meetings which used to ramble on interminably are now completed within two hours. TL has applied for Taught Degree Awarding Powers (tDAP) on a very tight timetable and a new slimline and largely jargon-fee strategic plan has been adopted.

He is President  of the Society of Later Life Advisers (SOLLA), an association of professionals advising older people on financial matters, and serves on the advisory committee of the Equity Release Council.

He is a director of Full Fact, a fact checking charity.

In Wales where he lives when not in London he chairs the Sidney Nolan Trust, is an active Patron of the Glasbury Arts Festival, of the Hay 4 Timbuktu twinning organisation and of the Courtyard Theatre Hereford; and a trustee of the new Mid Wales Music Trust.

He is President of the British Harness Racing Club.


Other recent employment


Since joining the House of Lords in 1999, David has had the following paid jobs in addition to the one he currently holds:

Chair, British Greyhound Racing Board, 2004-08

Consultant British Greyhound Racing Board 2009

David applied to chair the board, largely because of a long-standing interest in greyhound welfare. He inherited a situation where the chairman had resigned, the chief executive had been sacked, board meetings lasted for many hours with votes on all significant issues, and the board’s policy for funding greyhound racing was in tatters. Under his chairmanship,a five year change programme was implemented so that:

  • Income received in voluntary contributions from the bookmakers increased from some £4m to more than £11m
  • The number of dogs rehomed doubled so the vast majority of retired greyhounds live a full and happy life
  • The board itself as restructured with the introduction of the first independent non-executive directors and a clean, efficient committee structure put in place. Board meetings were concise and votes were extremely rare.
  • The Animal Welfare Bill and the demand for imposed regulation by animal welfare groups were weathered.
  • The first-ever programme of training in the industry has been put in place

The board was replaced by the new Greyhound Board of Great Britain – a body David was influential in shaping – on January 1st 2009.

Chair, Financial Services Consumer Panel 2009

David took the chair of the FSCP in June 2008. He took the job – which involved 2-3 days a week work – on a radical manifesto for change designed to make the panel more proactive, to prioritise more effectively and to be more outward-looking rather than focussing on Financial Services Authority’s internal business. He was active in formulating and propagating the panel’s views on compensation for depositors, on repossessions and on the Retail Distribution Review, including a heavy programme of speeches and broadcasts. He resigned in December 2008 following a disagreement with the FSA about the role of the panel and the resources which should be devoted to it..

Chair, Shadow Racing Trust

He chaired the Shadow Racing Trust, a body set up to buy the Tote for racing from the Government. He succeeded in uniting the notoriously quarrelsome racing industry behind his board. He got its objective into two successive Labour manifestos but it was ultimately blocked by the European Union. Before that, he served as a non-executive director on the board of the Tote at a time of great commercial success for the company, and was a member of its remuneration committee.

Board Member, Personal Investment Authority

He was a member of the board of the Personal Investment Authority until it was amalgamated into the Financial Services Authority. He served as a member of its committee charged with sorting out the pensions misselling scandal, and was a member of its Disciplinary and Membership Committee, hearing cases involving breaches of its rules.

Council Member. ASA.

He was a council member of the Advertising Standards Authority for six years, ruling on public complaints against advertising. He was responsible for the ASA’s decision to set up its first-ever Audit Committee, which he then chaired.

Chairman, Impower

He chaired Impower, a local-government consultancy company. Trading at a heavy loss when David took over, the company was stabilised and today trades at a modest profit.

Board Member, ITV London

He was a non-executive member of the board of ITV London and its predecessor London Weekend Television until after the merger of Granada and Carlton. He chaired its public advisory committee.

Member International Advisory Committee, Ipsos Reid

He was an international consultant to the Canadian opinion polling company, Ipsos Reid





Visiting Fellow, Centre for European Studies, Harvard

In April/May 2011, David was at Harvard, researching and later publishing in Political Quarterly a paper on changes in British politics, 1971-2011

Chair, Straight Statistics 2008 – 2011

David launched Straight Statistics, a body seeking to combat misuse of statistics by government, politicians, business and the media. He has assembled a distinguished council  including Lord Moser, a former head of the Government’s statistical service, Lord Jenkin, a former cabinet minister, Gavyn Davies OBE a former Chairman of the BBC and Andrew Dilnot, Principal of St Hugh’s College Oxford. The Nuffield Foundation awarded the Campaign a substantial grant. In 2011 Straight Statistics amalgamated with the similar campaigning group Full Fact, of which David is a trustee.

Chair, Social Market Foundation 2000- 10

As non-executive chairman, David exercised broad overall influence on the foundation’s research and publications. Inheriting a situation where the SMF was in crisis due to lax financial controls and inadequate governance procedures, he created a high-quality board.. The governance structure was completely revised, and when he left the  SMF traded profitably in a financial as well as a political sense.

David chaired the SMF commission on health with leading experts, and a committee on social care, and has led two of its programmes, on communications and on gambling.


Chair, Make Votes Count

David was chair of Make Votes Count for a decade from 1999. Make Votes Count was a campaigning group seeking to change Britain’s first-past-the-post electoral system to something fairer. In adverse circumstances, it has helped to keep the voting-reform issue alive, culminating in the referendum on the alternative vote in 2011 (after David had moved on).

Commissions etc

David was a member of three major government commissions in the late 90s:

  1. The Royal Commission on the Funding of the Long Term Care of the Elderly  chaired by (the then) Sir Stuart Sutherland. Unable to agree with the Commission’s majority recommendation that care should be free for all, he authored a minority report with Lord Joffe advocating spending on better services, including on carers. This minority report was essentially adopted by the government, and is reflected in government policy following the subsequent Dilnot report..
  • The Committee on the Electoral System, chaired by Roy Jenkins. This widely-acclaimed report recommended an alternative to first-past-the-post which preserved most of the virtues of the constituency link.
  1. The Davies Panel on the funding of the BBC.

Other posts


David has been a member of the  Labour Party’s Foresight panel; a member of the advisory panel of CREST, a body researching elections and social trends; and a Member of the External Affairs Advisory Committee, Economic and Social Research Council. He was on the Council  of the Constitution Unit.

In the academic world, he has been a Visiting Fellow, Department of Health and Social Care at the London School of Economics. He has been an honorary professor at the University of Salford and a Visiting Professor, Department of Public Policy, University of Ulster

He was for many years a member of the Executive Committee of the Fabian Society and chaired its executive committee in the difficult years 1983-84 when executive members included Tony Benn and Shirley Williams.

Other unpaid past roles include being a trustee of the Retired Greyhound Trust chairing a body advising on the raising of £30m for a Women’s Cancer Centre at Charing Cross Hospital, and membership of the body advising the Media Standards Trust on press regulation.

He is a former member of the  executive committee, Anglo-American Project for the Successor Generation; a founder member of the executive committee, Employment Institute; and a Consultant with Granada TV on successive series of “hypotheticals” He was a co-opted member of Housing Development Committee, Greater London Council, 1972-73




Pre Lords Career Summary

1970-72 Research Assistant, General and Municipal Workers Union

1972-77 Special Adviser to Rt Hon Anthony Crosland in Opposition (1972-74), at the Department of Environment (1974-76) and at the Foreign Office (1976-77)

1977-79 Member of Prime Minister’s Staff, 10 Downing Street as policy adviser and speech writer, later taking over as acting political secretary

1979-80 Industrial Correspondent, New Society

1980-86 Sunday Times, first on political staff, then (1982) as Economics Editor

1986-88 Editor (and effectively Chief Executive) New Society

1988-90 Founder, Sunday Newspaper Publishing Company and Deputy Editor, Sunday Correspondent

1990-92: Associate Editor and acting Deputy Editor, The Times

1992-99: The Economist: Political Editor (“Bagehot”) 1994-98; Public Policy Editor Feb 1999 to June 1999.

1999- present Member, House of Lords


David Lipsey’s autobiography, “The Corridors of Power” was published in May 2012, to critical acclaim. His racing novel “Counter Coup” is published in November 2014.

He is author of “The Secret Treasury” Hamish Hamilton 2000, an account of what the Treasury is, what it does, and how it works.

He has written a number of political pamphlets including “The Name of the Rose”, which first proposed a change in the Labour Party’s name to incorporate the word “new”; and the SMF pamphlet “The Social Market and its Enemies”.

He is author of literally hundreds of articles including in the Economist, Prospect, The Times, the Sunday Times, the Guardian, the New Statesman and in European and American journals and newspapers.



1962-67 Bryanston School, Dorset

1968-70 Exhibitioner, Magdalen College Oxford

First Class Honours in Politics, Philosophy and Economics

Winner, University Gibbs Prize in Politics 1969

Personal interests

David has a daughter and two step-sons.

He is particularly interested in music. He is a regular opera goer; takes piano lessons, and is also sponsoring a young pianist/conductor.

David enjoys racing of nearly every kind. He has recently retired as an active participant in harness racing in Wales, and has driven his sulky to success on seven occasions. He now owns half of two point-to-pointers. He is also a golfer of sorts, and a regular swimmer.

Over the past five years, he has restored his 17th century farmhouse in Wales. He and his wife Margaret are inexpert regulars in visiting churches and other historic buildings, and are members of the National Trust.




Supplementary CV: relevant academic appointments and qualifications

Visiting  Professor, University of Salford

Past Visiting Professor, Department of Public Policy, University of Ulster

Past Visiting Fellow, Department of Health and Social Care, London School of Economics

Member of Council, Constitution Unit, University College London

Member of Advisory Committee, Centre for the Study of Gambling, Salford University

Past member of External Affairs Advisory Committee, Economic and Social Research Council

Past member of the Advisory Council of Centre for Research into Elections and Social Trends


1st Class Honours in Politics, Philosophy and Economics at Oxford University (1970)

Winner, Gibbs Prize in Politics (university award for undergraduates)



The Secret Treasury, 2002

The Socialist Agenda  (ed with Dick Leonard) 1980

Pamphlet/shorter pieces include:

Labour and Land  Fabian Society 1971

The Name of the Rose  Fabian Society 2002

The Social Market and its Enemies Social Market Foundation 2007

Chapter in British Social Attitudes survey.

Introductory chapter in Le Grand “The Other Invisible Hand: Delivering Public Services through Choice and Competition.” 2007

Labour and government Fabian Society 1996

David Lipsey has written literally hundreds of newspaper and magazine articles on a huge range of subjects for publications which include: The Economist, Prospect, The Times, The Guardian, The Sunday Times, The Independent, the New Statesman and Public Finance.