Meta Ramsay was appointed to the House of Lords in 1996. A former MI6 officer, she is particularly interested in foreign affairs, defence and intelligence. Ramsay is currently a member of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, which seeks to build parliamentary and public consensus in support of Alliance policies. She is also a member of the Joint Committee on National Security Strategy and an advisor to the Foreign Policy Centre, a prominent think tank. During her time in Parliament, Ramsay has occupied numerous positions, serving as Deputy Speaker between 2002 and 2008 and as a Government Whip between 1997 and 2001. She held several spokesperson portfolios in addition to this, with responsibility for Foreign Affairs and Europe (1998-2001), Scotland (1997-2001), Health (1997-98) and Culture, Media and Sport (1997-98). Ramsay served on the Intelligence and Security Select Committee during her first year in the Lords.
Ramsay worked for the Labour Party for several years before her elevation to the Lords. Between 1994 and 1995, she was a special advisor to John Cunningham, then Shadow Secretary of State for Trade and Industry. Ramsay went to work for him after the death of John Smith, to whom she had been foreign policy adviser. She entered politics in 1992, after spending more than two decades with the intelligence service. Whilst at MI6, she had served in Stockholm and in Helsinki, where she was involved in the successful exfiltration of the former KGB Colonel Oleg Gordievsky. Ramsay joined in 1969 after completing studies at the Geneva Institute for International Studies and Glasgow University. She was born in 1936.