Equality regulator appoints new members to Scotland Committee

Published: 2 October 2023

The Equality and Human Rights Commission today announced the appointment of four new members of its Scotland Committee.

The Committee provides impartial advice to the EHRC and its Board, on a range of complex issues relating to Scotland. This helps ensure the EHRC delivers its functions in a manner appropriate to Scotland and learns from the Scottish experience of equality and human rights.

The new committee members are:

  • Professor Adam Tomkins
  • Dr Lesley Thomson KC
  • Mandy Rhodes
  • Arlene Stokes

Welcoming the appointments, the EHRC’s Scotland Commissioner and Chair of the Scotland Committee, Lesley Sawers OBE said:

“We congratulate our new committee members on their appointment.

“We are delighted to have brought such a range of knowledge and leading expertise to the Scotland Committee. The committee comes from all walks of life and that helps us ensure that the EHRC meets the needs and priorities of people in Scotland.

“In the next month the EHRC will publish its statutory Equality and Human Rights Monitor report, including a nation report for Scotland. This will provide a comprehensive picture of developments in equality and human rights in Scotland over the last five years – where progress has been made towards a fairer, more equal, country and where action is needed to address the challenges which persist.

“The committee will work together with EHRC Scotland staff and stakeholders nationwide to address these challenges and advance equality in Scotland.”

The Government Equalities Office has also announced that Scotland Commissioner Lesley Sawers has been appointed Interim Deputy Chair of the EHRC Board. 

Notes to Editors:

  1. Biographies of each new committee member can be found below. The new committee members will be in post for between two and five years. They join existing committee members Lesley Sawers, Mariam Ahmed and Rami Okasha.
  2. The Scotland Committee’s terms of reference set out its role and function as one of the EHRC’s statutory committees. Scotland Committee members are appointed by the EHRC Board.
  3. The position of Deputy Chair of the EHRC’s Board is a public appointment made by the UK Government’s Minister for Women and Equalities.


Professor Adam Tomkins is the John Millar Chair of Public Law at the University of Glasgow and has significant experience of constitutional and human rights law. He was elected as a Scottish Conservative MSP for the Glasgow Region in 2016 and served in the Scottish Parliament until 2021. He was a member of the Smith Commission, which reviewed the devolution settlement following the 2014 referendum on Scottish independence.

Dr Lesley Thomson KC is currently Vice Chair and a non-executive Director of NHS Lanarkshire. Between 2011 and 2016 she served as Solicitor General for Scotland. She was a non-executive Director of the Scottish Rugby Union, where she chaired the SRU’s Committee on Equality, Inclusion and Diversity. Dr Thomson also carried out a review of victim care in the justice sector and served as a lay trade union representative in the private sector.

Mandy Rhodes is the managing director of Holyrood Communications and the editor of Holyrood magazine, a role she has held since 2005. She has a wealth of experience of the Scottish political and policy landscape, having worked as a campaigning journalist and political commentator for over 35 years in both print and broadcast media. She has won numerous awards, including the Professional Publishers Association Magazine Editor of the Year, Feature Writer of the Year and Columnist of the Year.

Arlene Stokes is the Chief Human Resources Officer at Aegon UK, an Edinburgh-based financial services company. She has extensive knowledge and experience of employment law and modern workplace people practices, having previously worked as Global Vice President HR for the Minerals Division of The Weir Group and People Director, Operational Excellence at Standard Life Aberdeen.

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