LWN is proud to have a growing list of Patrons and Union Affiliations.
LWN PATRON - Barbara Follett
Barbara Follett is one of the four founders of Labour Women’s Network. She fought two general elections and several parliamentary selections before finally becoming the Member of Parliament for Stevenage in May 1997. She successfully held the seat in 2001 and 2005 before standing down in 2010.
During her thirteen years in Parliament Barbara championed women’s rights and campaigned hard to get more Labour women involved in politics. She chaired the Parliamentary Labour Party Women's Committee (2005); was PPS to the Minister for Women (2005 – 2006); Minister for Equalities (2007 - 2008); Minister of Culture (2008 – 2009) and Local Government Finance Minister (2009 - 2010.) Between 2007 and 2010 she was also the Minister for the East of England.
Since 2010 Barbara has been the CEO of the Follett Office which manages the interests of her husband, author Ken Follett. They live between Old Knebworth – in the constituency of Stevenage - and London with three unruly Labradors.
Photo Credit: Olivier Favre
LWN PATRON - Hilary De Lyon
Hilary stood as Labour’s Parliamentary Candidate in Windsor and Maidenhead in the 1987 General Election, supported by Val Price (a central figure in LWN’s early years), who had been the previous candidate. Hilary was so disappointed that only 21 women had been elected to Parliament, the same number as in 1945, that she was determined to change this. Setting up LWN with Jean Black, Barbara Follett and Barbara Roche in 1988 to support and develop Labour women who wanted to stand for public office was the first step to achieving equality. Hilary stood again for election as an MEP in the Thames Valley in 1989.
In 1993 she was one of the founders of Emily’s List UK, with the aim of raising money to help Labour women standing for parliamentary election.
Hilary has had a varied career, including as General Secretary of a trade union, the Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists (1999-2002), Chief Executive of the largest medical royal college, the Royal College of General Practitioners (2002-2011), a Non-Executive Director for the NHS in Norfolk (2011-2018) and Vice President of the Royal Society of Medicine (2018-20). Since 2013 she has been working as a Church of England priest in rural Norfolk.
LWN PATRON - Jill Stevens
Jilly Stevens was a journalist, on local and national papers and magazines, before becoming director of consumer affairs for Experian, then editor of Equality and Diversity Professional magazine and a consumer rights consultant.
During the last Labour government, she was a member of several advisory groups and was frequently on television and radio. Her work was crucial to raising awareness of the need for responsible lending, personal finance education and how to avoid identity fraud.
Now retired, she is her branch women’s officer, vice-chair of Brighton & Hove Co-op Party and chair of the city’s Fair Trade steering committee. As a cancer survivor, she volunteers with the Trust for Developing Communities encouraging people to have screening tests.
A life-long active feminist, in the early 1980s she helped form the first women’s section in her then constituency. She met Barbara through their regional team, where she provided training to Labour branch press officers, and joined her to train PPCs through the Thatcher years, leading to the 1997 election when many ‘Folleted’ folk became MPs.
Jilly joined Hilary, Barbara, Nan and others as communications officer to revitalise LWN, launching a regular newsletter and networking to raise LWN’s profile, helping to recruit people like Jo Cox.
“I am very proud that I helped rejuvenate LWN. We are now a powerful force for gender equality in public life. Seeing our graduates enter Parliament, or take other roles, after receiving the best training for women I’ve ever experienced, does my heart good.”
Under our constitution, LWN shall always remain neutral in all forms of candidate selection processes. It's not uncommon for a number of LWN graduates to be standing in the same seat, therefore if a CLP wishes to affiliate to LWN, please do not be offended when we say no, sorry.