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Alice van der Walt

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The Rt Hon. Alice van der Walt QC, MP is a British-South African Labour Party politician and the Member of Parliament for Ealing North.


Born on 1 January 1943 in Pretoria in what was then the Union of South Africa, a self-governing dominion of the British Empire, Alice’s father was Nicolaas van der Walt, who worked as a civil servant in the Governor-General’s office, and her mother, Elizabeth van der Walt, was a British expat who had moved to Pretoria shortly before the outbreak of the second world war.


At end of the war in 1945, Elizabeth and Nicolaas were divorced amidst allegations of adultery on his part. Elizabeth and the young Alice returned to Britain by steam ship and settled in Acton, with Elizabeth purchasing a house on Horn Lane using a portion of her alimony.


Alice attended the City of London School for Girls, funded by her father: she went on to attend the University of Cambridge where she read Law, and was subsequently called to the Bar at Temple Inn.


Practising as a criminal barrister for thirty years, van der Walt defended clients in some of London’s most notable trials at the Central Criminal Court. She “took silk” in 1990.


In 1994 van der Walt joined the Labour Party, and ahead of the 1997 general election was selected by the party to contest the seat of Ealing North. She won easily.


In 2001 van der Walt was appointed a Minister of State in the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister. In 2004 she became Solicitor General, and in 2007 Minister for the City of London ahead of the demise of Gordon Brown’s Labour government.


Van der Walt has never married and has no children.


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