Edward McMillan-Scott – leading politician and rights campaigner
Edward McMillan-Scott is a British politician who was a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) 1984-2014. He was the last and longest-serving British Vice-President of the European Parliament, elected four times 2004-2014.
A lifelong pro-European, Edward represented Yorkshire & The Humber UK. He was Leader of the Conservative Group of MEPs 1997-2001. With 36 MEPs, it was the largest-ever British delegation. However, he protested when UK premier David Cameron’s created a new nationalist MEP group in 2009 after a controversial split from the mainstream European People’s Party. He then sat as an independent and then liberal until 2014.
Edward was elected a Patron of the non-party European Movement in 2014. The Movement, set up by Winston Churchill in 1949, now seeks to rejoin the European mainstream once the reality of Brexit is known to the British public. Opinion polls show that Britons feel the 2016 “Leave” vote was a mistake by a 10 per cent margin.
Edward was a lead campaigner for a People’s Vote – set up in 2018 to secure a second UK referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU. It nearly succeeded in winning a parliamentary majority when a parliamentary election intervened. Edward and colleagues raised over £2m for the campaign.
Since 2017 he has coordinated the UK’s pro-EU activists, academics and politicians in a forum called Where Next for Brexit?
A leading parliamentarian
Edward was elected Vice-President of the European Parliament four times 2004-2014.
His portfolio as Vice-President covered Human Rights and Democracy. He campaigned for reform in some of the world’s most difficult countries, such as Cuba, China and Russia. In 2013 he was awarded the Medal of Honour by the 40-strong Inter-European University Centre for Human Rights and Democracy
For his work on reform in Russia, he was one of eight Britons placed on Putin’s visa blacklist
He is a Board member of the European Parliament’s Former Members Association
Strong international rights campaigner
Edward was an award-winning Vice-President of the European Parliament for Democracy and Human Rights, and founded the world’s largest dedicated programme after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 aimed at reforming the ex-Soviet Bloc.
By 1997, his European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR) had over 1200 programmes in operation across East/Central Europe and Russia, with offices in Budapest, Moscow, Prague and Warsaw. It now operates worldwide, and has a budget of €1.332 billion for the period 2014-2021. It finances all the EU’s election observer missions.
He works closely with dissidents and reformists in China. To focus attention on China’s appalling human rights record – and in particular the imprisonment of prisoners of conscience – he organised an EU boycott of the ceremonial around the 2008 Beijing Olympics.