Edward McMillan-Scott – leading politician and rights campaigner


Edward in London’s Parliament Square with the million-plus People’s Vote rally for a second referendum on Brexit, October 2019. Edward helped to raised over £2m for the campaign. It was stopped by a General Election on the  point of winning a parliamentary majority 

Edward McMillan-Scott is a non-party British politician who was a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) 1984-2014. He was the last and one of the longest-serving British Vice-Presidents 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 one of the largest-ever British delegations. 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. Edward then sat as an independent and then liberal until 2014, when he left the European Parliament.

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 Brexit vote was “wrong” by a consistent majority around 60 per cent.

Edward was a lead campaigner for a People’s Vote – a campaign 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 now called Pro EU Forum UK, formerly Where Next for Brexit?


A leading parliamentarian 

Here, Edward leads a voting session in the European Parliament. He was rated the fastest in conducting votes, often several hundred in a weekly session

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 

Here, leading the largest-ever MEP election observer mission in January 2005, he meets Palestinian presidential candidate Mustafa Barghouti and John Kerry, then US Secretary of State, who led the US observer mission

Edward was an award-winning Vice-President of the European Parliament for Democracy and Human Rights. He 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 billion per year. It finances the EU’s election observer missions and the International Court of Justice.

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 and supported the political boycott of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics. He is persona non grata in China,