An Oxford University professor has been appointed to the House of Lords.

An internationally recognised nature expert, Professor Katherine Willis and a leading women’s rights campaigner, Shaista Gohir will sit on the crossbenches, meaning they will not be affiliated with any party.

They have been recommended by the independent House of Lords Appointments Commission, with the move approved by the Prime Minister and the Queen, but they are yet to be formally introduced to the House.

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Prof Willis is an internationally recognised expert on nature and the relationship between biodiversity, climate change and human wellbeing.

She is currently professor of biodiversity in the department of zoology and principal of St Edmund Hall at the University of Oxford.

Prof Willis previously served on the UK’s Natural Capital Committee, which advised the Government on ecosystems, soils, freshwaters, and oceans.

She played a key role in providing detailed analysis and scrutiny of the scientific evidence-base underpinning the Government’s 25-Year environment plan.

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Joining the Oxford professor is Ms Gohir, a women’s rights campaigner and highly influential Muslim woman, who heads up the national award-winning charity Muslim Women’s Network UK (MWNUK).

Her achievements have included setting up the national Muslim Women’s Network Helpline.

She successfully challenged the Foreign Office policy on charging 16 to 17-year-old forced marriage victims repatriation fees, which was scrapped in 2017.

Read more from this author

This story was written by Rebecca Whittaker, she joined the team in 2019 as a multimedia reporter.

Rebecca covers education and news in Abingdon and Wantage.

Get in touch with her by emailing: or calling 07824524333

Follow her on Twitter @RebecWhitt

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