Estelle Morris becomes an external director.

Former British government minister Estelle Morris has joined the governing board of U.K. authors rights body the Performing Right Society.

The London-based PRS announced today (Sept. 13) that Morris had joined the board as an external director. The PRS Board consists of 22 composers, songwriters and music publishers plus two external directors. It directs the organisation on matters relating to rights and royalties for music creators.

In a statement, Morris said, "I am passionate about music, its unique contribution to the cultural fabric of society and its importance to the U.K. economy. I am looking forward to helping PRS face the challenges and opportunities of the digital environment so that we can encourage, provide for and strengthen the future of music creation in the U.K."

The politician became a Member of Parliament in 1992 and stepped down at the General Election in April this year. She was named Baroness Morris of Yardley by the Labour government in May 2005, a position which gives her a seat in the United Kingdom’s un-elected second political chamber, the House of Lords.

Morris was named Schools Minister in 1997 then became Secretary of State for Education and Employment in Prime Minister Tony Blair's Labour Party cabinet from 2001 to 2002. She rejoined the cabinet in 2003 as Minister for Arts, as part of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

According to PRS Chairman Ellis Rich, Morris has an ability "to master complex and challenging issues and contribute to this cultural and economic debate" which "will strengthen our ability to think our way through this future."

In 2004 PRS distributed £256 million ($467 million) to its members for the public performance and broadcast of their works.