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Catherine Ashton, Baroness Ashton of Upholland, PC is a British Labour politician who in 2009 became the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy for the European Union. Under the Treaty of Lisbon, this post is combined with the post of Vice-President of the European Commission. Her political career began in 1999 when she was created a Life Peer by the Labour Government. Under this government she became the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State in the Department for Education and Skills in 2001 and subsequently in the Department for Constitutional Affairs and Ministry of Justice in 2004. She became a Privy Councillor in May 2006. Catherine Ashton was appointed Leader of the House of Lords and Lord President of the Queen's Privy Council in Gordon Brown’s first Cabinet in June 2007. As well as Leader of the Lords, she held responsibility in the House of Lords for equalities issues, and she was instrumental in steering the EU's Treaty of Lisbon through the UK's upper chamber. In 2008, she succeeded Peter Mandelson as Commissioner for Trade in the European Commission. In December 2009, she became the first person to take on the role of High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy that was created by the Treaty of Lisbon. As High Representative, Baroness Ashton serves as the EU's foreign policy chief. (via Freebase)