Lord Triesman, David Triesman

Labour principal spokesperson on Foreign Affairs, House of Lords

David Triesman is Labour’s principal spokesperson on Foreign Affairs in the House of Lords. David entered the Lords as a life peer in 2004.

David is an experienced member of parliament and held several ministerial positions in the previous Labour government. He was a government whip (2004-2005) and spoke from the government frontbench on a wide range of subjects including Transport (2004), Education and Skills (2004-2005), Trade and Industry (2004-2005), International Development (2004-2005), the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (2004-2007) being promoted to parliamentary under-secretary of state for FCO (2005-2007) and Intellectual Property and Quality (2007-2008).

In 2008, David left government to take up the position of national chair of the Football Association, a post he held until 2010. Before coming to the Lords, David was general secretary of the Labour Party (2001-2003) and also served as general secretary of the Association of University Teachers (1993-2001). David has been the chairman and a director in a number of large companies since the mid-1980s and is currently the chairman of the board of advisers of the merchant bank, Templewood, and a member of the board of property developer Augur Buchler.

Outside the House of Lords, he divides his time between his wife and young daughter, and his passion for Tottenham Hotspur.

Kim Samuel

founder of the Samuel Centre for Social Connectedness (SCSC); author, On Belonging: Finding Connection in an Age of Isolation

Kim Samuel is a leading voice in the global movement for belonging. She is the author of On Belonging: Finding Connection in an Age of Isolation, an exploration of the crisis of social isolation and humanity’s right to belong. She is also the founder of the Samuel Centre for Social Connectedness (SCSC), a ‘think-and-do tank’ that partners with leading advocacy groups and research organizations to combat social isolation and build belonging around the world. 

In addition, Kim is a research fellow at the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI), University of Oxford, and an associate fellow at Green Templeton College, also at the University of Oxford.  

Dr Jan Macvarish

education and events director, the Free Speech Union; author, Neuroparenting: the expert invasion of family life

Jan is the education and events director of the Free Speech Union.

Before joining the staff of the Free Speech Union, she worked as an academic sociologist, studying parenting, family life, intimacy and reproductive health. She is the author of Neuroparenting: the expert invasion of family life and co-author of Parenting Culture Studies with colleagues at the Centre for Parenting Culture Studies at the University of Kent, where she is a visiting research fellow.

Follow Jan on X/Twitter: @janmacvarish

Baroness Smith of Newnham, Julie Smith

professor of European Politics, Cambridge University

Julie Smith is Professor of European Politics at Cambridge University and a Fellow of Robinson College. As Baroness Smith of Newnham, she sits in the House of Lords, where she is the Liberal Democrat defence spokesman. She was previously head of the European Programme at Chatham House.  

Julie’s research interests centre on the history and politics of the European Union, democracy in Europe and the UK’s relations with the EU. Her publications include The UK’s Journeys into and out of the EU – Destinations Unknown (Routledge, 2017) and The Palgrave Handbook of European Referendums (editor and contributor Palgrave, 2021)

Barb Jungr

musician, performer, writer and lyricist

An award-winning international performer, recording artist and writer, Barb Jungr is best known for her interpretations and recordings of Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen and Jacques Brel. With performances across four continents and 15 solo album recordings, she appeared on Talking Bob Dylan Blues: A Tribute to Bob Dylan for BBC TV and has appeared on programmes about Dylan’s work and on singing Dylan and Cohen.

Will Friedwald’s The Great Jazz and Pop Vocal Albums ((2017) has a chapter devoted to her 2002 CD, Every Grain Of Sand (Linn Records).

Alongside her performance work she writes music, songs and adapts for children’s and musical theatre: We’re Going On A Bear Hunt, The Fabulous Flutterbys, The Singing Mermaid, The Pixie and The Pudding, How To Hide A Lion, Chocolate Cake, There May Be A Castle, Liver Birds Flying Home. She has contributed to The Cambridge Companion to Blues and Gospel, Dylan at 80: It used to go like that, and now it goes like this, Woman: The Incredible Life of Yoko Ono and John Lydon: Stories of Johnny, and has appeared as a commentator on culture and the voice on radio and television.

After spending many years in Pimlico, she now lives in West Sussex. Visit her website here: www.barbjungr.co.uk.

Lord Ken Macdonald KC

barrister, Matrix Chambers; crossbench peer

Ken Macdonald KC has practised at the Bar since 1978 and took silk in 1997. A founder member of Matrix Chambers, he was appointed a Recorder of the Crown Court in 2001, and elected Chairman of the Criminal Bar Association in 2003. He served as Director of Public Prosecutions between 2003-2008, the first prominent defence lawyer to have been appointed to that post, and he was knighted for services to the law in 2007. In 2010, he was appointed to the House of Lords, where he sits as a Crossbencher. He is a former Visiting Professor of Law at the London School of Economics, and he was Warden of Wadham College Oxford between 2012-2021.

Currently, he continues to practice in criminal, regulatory and arbitral law from Matrix Chambers. He is a member of the Legal Advisory Board of the Free Speech Union, President of the Howard League for Penal Reform, and Chair of the Orwell Foundation which awards the UK’s premier prizes for journalism and political writing.

A regulator writer and broadcast commentator on legal, security and political affairs, he co-presents Double Jeopardy, the leading law and politics podcast.

Follow Ken on X/Twitter: @doubjeopardypod

Jack Barwell

student, Exeter University & founder of Exeter University Speak Easy Society

Jack Barwell is a student at Exeter University studying BA politics, having just finished his 2nd year. At secondary school he set up his own debating competition with all the schools in his trust called the folio trust speaking challenge for year 6 and 7 pupils. After leaving his state school he founded the Charity Bridge the Gap to help state school kids get into top universities through teaching by Oxbridge students. He is the president of the organisation. At university he was speaker secretary and then chairman of the Exeter University debating society for 2 years, hosting debates with speakers such as Ann Widdecombe, Calvin Robinson and David Gauke. He then left the debating society over its refusal to stand up for free speech and set up his own society, Exeter University Speak Easy Society, which he is the President of and is forming a national speak easy movement. Jack has also run as a conservative council candidate in Mincinglake and Whipton in 2021 and now works part time as a parliamentary assistant for Selaine Saxby MP.

Vinay Kapoor

politics student at the University of Warwick

Vinay is a 19-year-old Politics student at the University of Warwick. He previously attended John Lyon, Harrow where he served as Head Boy in his final year. Vinay maintains a strong interest in Public Speaking, achieving Distinction in his LAMDA Grade 8 exam. He currently serves as Social Secretary of his University’s Public Speaking Society. Additionally, Vinay is a member of the English-Speaking Union, an organization dedicated to promoting oracy among young people. He is currently presiding over an ideas and discussion society at Warwick, to encourage more open academic discussion and debate. Outside the classroom, Vinay tutors English GCSE and Politics A Level students and enjoys reading the works of Fyodor Dostoevsky.

Jo-Anne Nadler

writer and commentator

Jo-Anne Nadler is a writer and commentator, known for analysing the changing fortunes of the Conservative Party. She spent ten years as a producer and reporter with the BBC before going freelance to concentrate on publishing and broadcasting. Jo-Anne is the author of 2 books and contributor to many newspapers and magazines, she regularly appears on the BBC and GB News. In recent years she has become a campaigner for impartial schooling and parental rights, and, having mobilised fellow parents at her son’s school to lobby against uncontested gender ideology and critical race theory, has just published a widely reported essay, ‘Show, Tell and Leave Nothing to the Imagination; How critical social justice is undermining British schooling’, for the think tank Civitas.

Follow Jo-Anne on Twitter: @JoAnneNadler

Omar Loubak Mohamed

student and co-founder of SpeakEasy

Omar Loubak Mohamed is a Politics, Philosophy, and Economics (PPE) student at Royal Holloway and a former committee member of the debating society which he subsequently left due to the disinvitation of Baroness Fox.

He is the co-founder of a new society called SpeakEasy, based on upholding the values of free speech on university campuses. He is the speakers-coordinator for TEDx Royal Holloway and recently organised a TEDx conference at Royal Holloway.

Omar was formerly an intern for the Academy of Ideas. He has been an English Tutor for the last four years for KS3 and GCSE students, specialising in public speaking and debating.