Shirley Porter, Lady Porter (née Cohen; born 29 November 1930) is a British former politician who led Westminster City Council in London representing the Conservative Party. She is the daughter and heiress of Sir Jack Cohen, the founder of Tesco supermarkets. She was appointed Order of the British Empire Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1991 by John Major after delivering “a spectacular victory” in Westminster for the Conservatives in the 1990 elections.
While leader of Westminster City Council she oversaw the “Building Stable Communities” policy, later described as the “homes for votes” scandal and was consequently accused of gerrymandering.[nb 1] The policy was judged illegal by the district auditor, and a surcharge of £27m levied on her in 1996. This was later raised to £42 million with interest and costs. She eventually settled in 2004, paying a “full and final settlement” of £12.3 million.
Porter moved to Herzliya Pituah, Israel, in 1994 during the inquiry, and returned to London in 2006. She helped establish the Porter Centre for Environmental Studies at Tel Aviv University, which opened its iconic LEED Platinum-graded building in 2014.