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Page 3 Profile: Martha Lane Fox, digital entrepreneur


A new venture?

Of a kind. Ms Lane Fox, the founder of the holidays and hotels booking website lastminute.com, is set to join the House of Lords as a crossbench peer. The 40-year-old digital entrepreneur will become the youngest woman in the upper chamber (the youngest of all is Big Society guru Baron Wei, who’s 36). Peers, of course, are renowned (perhaps unfairly) for being a bit fusty, so it’s no surprise Ms Lane Fox vowed to “shake things up”.

Are the rest of the Peers ready?

Ms Lane Fox (soon to be Lane-Fox, thanks to Lords rules) will be introduced in the Lords on 26 March, but she has already managed to make a bit of a mess of the announcement by revealing too much on Twitter. She said she would take the title of Baroness Lane-Fox of Soho, only to tweet: “Ssshh ... Soho bit still a secret apparently.” She joked about the less than lordly connotations of her new title. “Don’t think it gets me a discount in Chinatown,” she said, adding that she might be entitled to “free cocktails and nipple tassels”. Suddenly remembering her public audience, she noted that the appointment was “such a privilege”.

She sounds like a laugh, at least

Don’t write her off just yet! Ms Lane Fox has been the Government’s digital champion since 2009, and is the patron of AbilityNet – a charity which helps children and disabled adults learn to use computers.

Not to be rude, but why the stick?

In 2004, she shattered her pelvis and broke 28 bones in a car crash in Morocco. But it didn’t break her spirits. On receiving a CBE for her services to the digital economy last week, she said: “Life’s so serendipitous. I’ve had unbelievable luck.”