Edward McMillan-Scott's early years
Edward McMillan-Scott comes from a farming and professional background. Born in Cambridge he was educated privately by the Dominican friars. At school he ran the debating society and the printing press.
He then worked in PR and governmental affairs, founding his own Whitehall company with clients including the Falkland Islands Government, before his election to the European Parliament (see About Edward's politics, right).
He joined the European Movement in the run-up to the 1975 referendum on Britain's EC membership and was active in the cross-party campaign for a 'Yes' vote.
In 1972 he married Henrietta, a lawyer (below centre). They have two daughters - Lucinda (l) born in 1973 and Arabella (r) born in 1976 - and four grand-daughters, Edie (r), Esme (l), Sylvia (born 2012) and Matilda (born 2016). In 1984 he was elected to the European Parliament.
His hobbies are reading, classical music, conservation and modern art.
About Edward's politics
Edward McMillan-Scott is a British politician. He is a Patron of the non-party European Movement - the only pro-European membership organisation in the UK.
He was a Yorkshire & Humber UK Member of the European Parliament |(MEP) from 1984 to 2014. He was Leader of the 36 Conservative MEPs 1997-2001 but left the party after protesting at David Cameron's controversial new EU alliance announced after the 2009 Euro-election. He sat as a Liberal Democrat from March 2010-July 2014, when he was not re-elected.
He was Vice-President of the European Parliament 2004-2014 with responsibility for Democracy & Human Rights. He is on the Advisory Board of China Aid.
In the May 2015 UK General Election, Edward was asked by the LibDems to stand as a 'paper' (nominal) candidate against Yvette Cooper MP in her Normanton, Yorkshire UK constituency. She retained the seat with a 15,428 majority.
A life-long pro-European, Edward opposed David Cameron's pledge to Eurosceptics in his leadership campaign to remove his MEPs from the EU's mainstream. They had joined the EPP group (Conservatives and Christian Democrats) at the behest of Margaret Thatcher, and Edward negotiated a more detached relationship while he was Leader of the 36 Tory MEPs 1997-2001. He tried to prevent arch-Eurosceptic Daniel Hannan from becoming an MEP.
After the 2009 Euro-election, Cameron formed a controversial new alliance with a 'bunch of nutters, homophobes, anti-Semites and climate-change deniers' (Nick Clegg). Edward protested and stood successfully against its nominee for Vice-President of the European Parliament, a Polish MEP with a recent extremist past (see Daily Telegraph article here ) Edward was smeared by the Tory Press Office during a long dispute (see email redacted by them).He joined the Liberal Democrats in March 2010, having worked closely with them for years, especially on human rights and democracy.
He described the Coalition formed in May 2010 as 'the happiest moment in my political life: Liberal Democrats have tamed the Conservative extremists'. He is now a declared non-party politician.
He founded the €150 million European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR), which promotes democracy and human rights worldwide, the only EU programme operating without host country consent, and still the world's largest. A frequent visitor to the Middle East, and a relation of T E Lawrence ('of Arabia') he has long advocated democratic reforms across the Arab world.Recognised and respected as a staunch defender of human rights, from dissidents in the ex-Soviet bloc to China, Edward lends his voice to the voiceless. He is pictured right co-hosting an EU-US Dialogue with former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.
Edward was first chairman of the European Parliament's Audit Panel 2004-2012 in recognition of his lead role in highlighting corruption and malpractice in the EU Commission. This initiative finally led to the resignation en masse of Commissioners in 1999 (although Edward exonerated UK Commissioners Brittan and Kinnock from blame), and then to widespread reforms in the European Parliament itself from 2009.
He was awarded the Medal of Honour in 2013 by the Venice-based European Inter-University Centre for Human Rights and Democratisation 'in recognition of his lasting efforts in the promotion and protection of human rights'.
He won the 'Outstanding Contribution' award from the Brussels Parliament Magazine - sister to Westminster's House Magazine - in 2012 for his chairmanship of the Single Seat campaign to base MEPs exclusively in Brussels.
Edward advocates civil liberties, fair elections, fair taxation, education reform and radical reform of the EU's Common Agricultural Policy. He stopped eating meat in 2008 to draw attention to climate change. ‘Green’ and heritage issues are central to his agenda. A parent and grandparent, he campaigns for better child rights across the EU. He is married to a lawyer, Henrietta.
Leaving the Conservatives - joining the Liberal Democrats
Edward protested about UK Conservative leader David Cameron's November 2005 leadership pledge to sever links with the majority mainstream conservative/Christian Democrat European People's Party as 'ideological nonsense'.
When the split came and Cameron's new alliance - the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) - was formed after the 2009 Euro-election, Edward immediately protested at the possible inclusion of extremists.
One of them, a Pole with a recent neo-fascist past, was put forward as a candidate for vice-president of the European Parliament in a controversial package deal negotiated by the leader of the Tory MEPs, Timothy Kirkhope. Edward stood against the Pole and won.
Following this protest, the Conservative 'whip' was withdrawn and on 15 September 2009 he was informed by email that he had been expelled from the party, without reason or explanation.
He appealed but after a prolonged and futile process, he made contact with other parties, including with Graham Watson, the former leader of the UK LibDem MEPs as he canvassed his options.
When the Conservative Party's lawyers sent him a letter making it clear that he could not expect a fair appeal hearing on 18 March, he followed up with a discussion on 7 March with Danny Alexander, then an MP and adviser to the leader of the LibDems, Nick Clegg.
After this, he held two talks with Clegg himself and on 12 March, having resigned his appeal, he joined the Liberal Democrats.