Baroness Sharp of Guildford is a Liberal Democrat member of the House of Lords. Before entering the House of Lords she had a successful career as an economist. Sharp’s work encompassed both academic and public service, starting in the civil service, followed by a long spell at the London School of Economics, a short spell back in public service with the National Economic Development Office in the late 1970s and, since the early 1980s, with the Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU) at the University of Sussex. She retired from the University of Sussex in 1999 but retains a visiting fellowship. Sharp’s political career began in the early 1980s when she joined the newly formed Social Democratic Party (SDP) and was selected to stand in Guildford in the 1983 election. She fought three further elections in Guildford for the SDP and then the Liberal Democrats, gradually squeezing a 20,000 majority down to 4,500 and preparing the way for Liberal Democrat Sue Doughty’s victory in the 2001 election. On the national scene she has played an active part in policy making, chairing a number of policy working groups and for several years being vice-chair to Paddy Ashdown on the Party’s main policy committee. As leader of higher and further education policy group, who produced the paper ‘Quality, Diversity and Choice’ which is now party policy, Sharp was widely attributed as masterminding the Liberal Democrat’s rejection of top-up fees, which contributed to the party’s success in taking a number of university seats at the 2005 general election. She was made a Life peer as Baroness Sharp of Guildford, of Guildford in the County of Surrey in 1998, and speaks for her party on issues of education, science, and technology.