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The Baroness Foster of Oxton
|Deputy Leader of the Conservative MEPs in the European Parliament|
20 November 2013 – 1 July 2019
|Member of the House of Lords|
|Assumed office |
9 February 2021
|Member of the European Parliament for North West England|
4 June 2009 – 1 July 2019
|Preceded by||David Sumberg|
|Succeeded by||Chris Davies|
10 June 1999 – 10 June 2004
|Preceded by||Position established|
|Succeeded by||Sajjad Karim|
|Alliance of Conservatives and Reformists in Europe|
In December 2020, it was announced she would be conferred a Life Peerage after a nomination by Prime Minister Boris Johnson as part of the 2020 Political Honours. In January 2021, she was elevated to the Lords as Baroness Foster of Oxton, of Oxton in the County of Merseyside.
Jacqueline Foster was born in Liverpool and educated at Prescot Girls' Grammar School. She worked for British Airways for more than twenty years.
Between 1981 and '85 she left British Airways and became Area Manager in Austria for Horizon, a British Tour Operator before returning to British Airways four years later. In 1989, she was one of the founder members of Cabin Crew '89, an independent trade union and served as the Deputy General Secretary. She continued with British Airways until she was elected as an MEP in 1999. She also lived and worked in France and Spain. She speaks French and German.
In 1988, following Margaret Thatcher's Bruges Speech, she publicly opposed Britain joining a single European currency as well as signing up to the Social Chapter. With her experience living and working in Europe, she has always maintained a constructive Euro-scepticism which remains to this day.
Foster combined her trade union activities with active membership of the Conservative Party, serving as Vice Chairman of Twickenham Conservative Association as well as holding a variety of voluntary political offices for the Greater London area. In the 1992 general election, she was the Conservative candidate in Newham South, a Labour-held seat in east London. Against the national trend, Foster cut the Labour majority. She was shortlisted as the candidate for Eastleigh in the by-election of 1994 but lost out in selection.
1997 UK general election
She continued to look for selection and in November 1995 was narrowly beaten by Eric Forth in the selection for Bromley and Chislehurst. In August 1996 she was selected for the marginal seat of Peterborough, where sitting Conservative MP Brian Mawhinney was moving to an adjacent constituency. She moved to Peterborough to fight the campaign and was among the Conservative candidates at that election who declared their personal opposition to the single European currency. The result of the 1997 general election was a landslide win for the Labour Party.
1999 European election
Work as an MEP
During this first mandate (1999-2004), she was elected annually as the chairman of the Backbench Committee of MEPs.
Her political responsibilities were as the Conservative Spokesman on Transport and Tourism and as a Member of the Industry Committee. Due to her professional expertise she specialised in the aviation sector. Other responsibilities included maritime, road and rail.
Following 9/11 Foster was the Rapporteur/draftsman for the Regulation which introduced minimum standards of security at airports across Europe. This included new rules which required airport staff to be security screened when entering secure areas, as was the case in the United Kingdom. The European Parliament agreed but the European Council of Ministers put off negotiations due to opposition by the governments of the Netherlands, Austria, Finland and Germany. Nevertheless, the legislation went through. She supported moves to require airlines to compensate passengers 'bumped' off flights. Other key areas she focused on included:
- Single European Sky, ATM, GNSS, Galileo (new satellite systems);
- The creation of the European Air Safety Agency (EASA); Occurrence reporting
- Slots ,Noise Ground-handling and Pax rights;
- Crew operations and Open Skies agreements.
She was also a pro-active member of the Sky & Space Parliamentary Intergroup.
As a was a member of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Joint Parliamentary Assembly (ACP) she became the spokesman for the Parliament on Zimbabwe, following which she was subsequently banned from entering the country.
Defeat in 2004; re-election in 2009
Jacqueline was re-selected to fight the 2004 European Parliament election in fourth position on the Conservative list, so was not re-elected when the Conservatives won only three seats. Having specialised in the aviation sector, she became an adviser to Airbus on EU legislation following which she was appointed Head of European Affairs for the Aerospace, Space and Defence Industries of Europe (ASD), based in Brussels (2005-2009). She continued to maintain an active role in these areas as Vice President of the Sky & Space Parliamentary Intergroup.
In 2009 she was placed third on the Conservative list for the North West in the European Parliament election and was elected once again as an MEP, with the Conservatives winning three seats for a second time. She was, again, appointed as the Transport Spokesman and also served as a Vice President of the Sky & Space and Animal Welfare Parliamentary Intergroups and as a Member of the EU-US Delegation. In addition she sat as a ember of the Environment Committee. She was elected Deputy Leader of the Conservative delegation of MEPs in 2013, and was re-elected annually. In 2013, she argued against the Conservative Party having an electoral pact with UK Independence Party.
2014 European election
Foster topped the ballot of the North West Candidates list for the 2014 European Parliament election. The Conservatives retained two MEPs.
Following the election she was re-appointed as a Transport Spokesman, specialising in the aviation and aerospace sectors as before and was also the Spokesman on Tourism. She was the draftsman of the groundbreaking 'Report on the Safe Use of RPAS' (drones) in the civil sector.She also remained on the Environment Committee.
During her twenty years in Brussels, fifteen in the Parliament, she was responsible for input on drafting and outcomes of all Primary Legislation Regulations / Directives which would shape British business and industry in her fields of expertise..
She continued to work closely on security issues with American authorities and other key countries around the globe. She was re-elected as a Vice-President of both the Sky & Space and Animal Welfare Parliamentary Intergroups. She remained a Member of the EU/US Parliamentary Delegation and was appointed a Vice-President of the Australia/New Zealand Delegation with the focus on securing trade deals.
She was regularly invited to address aviation/aerospace conferences, such as the Royal Aeronautical Society (drones & emissions trading), as well as frequently being called upon for political comment on all aspects of both sectors. She is a member of the RAeS as well as the European Aviation Club.
Foster also took an active role on issues surrounding the Maritime sector and served as a Director and Board Member of Mersey Maritime Ltd. from 2016 to June 2019.
Foster was re-elected again, unopposed, as Deputy Leader of the Conservative delegation of MEPs in November 2018 serving six years in total..
She stood down at the end of the 2014-2019 mandate and did not contest the 2019 European election in May.
She was appointed President of the North West Conservative Clubs in 2010, a position she still holds.
- "Key dates ahead". European Parliament. 20 May 2017. Retrieved 28 May 2019.
- "Key dates ahead". BBC News. 22 May 2017. Retrieved 28 May 2019.
- "Political Peerages 2020". Gov.uk. Retrieved 22 December 2020.
- "Crown Office". The Gazette. 2 February 2021. Retrieved 11 February 2021.
- "European elections 2009: North West region". The Telegraph. 26 May 2009. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 25 July 2018.
- "Farage: Tory MPs want UKIP deal". BBC News. 1 October 2013. Retrieved 25 July 2018.
- "North West England (European Parliament constituency) - BBC News". Retrieved 25 July 2018.
- "Jacqueline Foster on new rules for drones: 'The key here is to ensure their safe use" [sic]". European Parliament. 29 October 2015. Retrieved 19 July 2016.
- "No. 62666". The London Gazette (Supplement). 8 June 2019. p. B8.