Former Yardley MP Estelle Morris has vowed to speak her mind in the House of Lords, as she was made a peer yesterday.
She will continue to support the Government but looked forward to expressing her own opinions, she said.
And she does not want a ministerial post, she added.
Lady Morris, a former Labour MP, Education Secretary and Arts Minister, was one of 27 new working peers appointed by Tony Blair.
They also include Dennis Turner, former MP for Wolverhampton South East, who was responsible for the House of Commons bars as chairman of the catering committee.
Former Cheltenham MP Nigel Jones, who was hurt in an horrific samurai sword attack which left a colleague dead, joins the Lords on the Liberal Democrat benches.
Labour has become the largest party in the Upper House for the first time, with 16 new peers.
Lady Morris criticised Mr Blair's decision to appoint of Andrew Adonis, a controversial former Downing Street advisor, as an Education Minister. Lord Adonis was made a peer earlier this week so that he could join the Government.
He has helped to shape Labour's education policy behind the scenes, and championed Labour's tuition fees policy, said to be one of the reasons Lady Morris resigned as Education Secretary. The post is currently held by Ruth Kelly.
Last night Lady Morris said: "If I had been Ruth I would not have been happy. Personally I wouldn't have wanted him in my time in office as Secretary of State."
But she said she was pleased Redditch MP Jacqui Smith had become the new Minister of State responsible for schools.
"Jacqui got an excellent job. She is senior to Andrew at the end of the day."
Lady Morris said she did not want to re-join the Government.
"One of the reasons I gave up politics was because I wanted to make a contribution elsewhere. I am not looking for a ministerial post."
She wanted to talk about a range of issues as well as education, she said.
They included the problem of anti-social behaviour, which Tony Blair focused on at a Downing Street press conference this week.
"We are in a very interesting time at the moment. The Prime Minister talked about the need to restore respect, but some of the problems in our communities are not directly solvable by Government."
Other former Cabinet ministers joining the Lords include Jack Cunningham and Chris Smith.
Among the Tories are former health secretary Virginia Bottomley, ex-education secretary Gillian Shephard, ex-chief whip Alastair Goodlad and one-time transport secretary and Tory chairman Sir Brian Mawhinney, along with former attorney general Sir Nicholas Lyell.