Valerie Ann Amos, Baroness Amos (born March 13, 1954) is a British Labour Party politician and life peer, currently serving as Leader of the House of Lords and Lord President of the Council. When she was appointed Secretary of State for International Development on May 12, 2003, following the resignation of Clare Short, she became the first black woman to sit in the Cabinet of the United Kingdom.
Baroness Amos was made Leader of the House of Lords on October 6, 2003 following the death of Lord Williams of Mostyn, which meant that her tenture as Secretary of State for International Development lasted less than six months. Prior to her appointment as Secretary of State for International Development, Baroness Amos was appointed Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Foreign & Commonwealth Affairs on June 11, 2001, with responsibility for Africa; Commonwealth; Caribbean; Overseas Territories; Consular Issues and FCO Personnel.
Baroness Amos was the principal spokesperson in the House of Lords on International Development as well as one of the Government's spokespersons in the House of Lords on Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs. She was previously a Government Whip in the House of Lords from 1998 to 2001 and also a spokesperson on Social Security, International Development and Women's Issues. She was created a life peer in August 1997.
Valerie Amos was born in Guyana, studied at the Universities of Warwick, Birmingham and East Anglia, and was awarded an Honorary Professorship at Thames Valley University in 1995 in recognition of her work on equality and social justice.
After working in Equal Opportunities, Training and Management Services in local government in the London boroughs of Lambeth, Camden and Hackney, she became Chief Executive of the Equal Opportunities Commission 1989-94. In 1995 Valerie Amos co-founded Amos Fraser Bernard and was an adviser to the South African Government on public service reform, human rights and employment equity.
Valerie Amos has also been Deputy Chair of the Runnymede Trust 1990-98, a Trustee of the Institute of Public Policy Research, a non-executive Director of the University College London Hospitals Trust, a Trustee of Voluntary Services Overseas, Chair of the Afiya Trust, a director of Hampstead Theatre and Chair of the Board of Governors of the Royal College of Nursing Institute.