Neil Kinnock

Neil Gordon Kinnock, Baron Kinnock PC (born 28 March 1942) is a Welsh politician.[1] As a member of the Labour Party, he served as a Member of Parliament from 1970 until 1995, first for Bedwellty and then for Islwyn. He was the Leader of the Labour Party and Leader of the Opposition from 1983 until 1992, and Vice-President of the European Commission from 1999 to 2004.


The Lord Kinnock

Kinnock in 1984
Vice-President of the European Commission
In office
16 September 1999  21 November 2004
PresidentRomano Prodi
European Commissioner for Administrative Reform
In office
16 September 1999  21 November 2004
PresidentRomano Prodi
Preceded byErkki Liikanen
Succeeded bySiim Kallas
European Commissioner for Transport
In office
16 February 1995  16 September 1999
PresidentJacques Santer
Manuel Marín (acting)
Preceded byKarel Van Miert
Succeeded byLoyola de Palacio
Leader of the Opposition
In office
2 October 1983  18 July 1992
MonarchElizabeth II
Prime MinisterMargaret Thatcher
John Major
Preceded byMichael Foot
Succeeded byJohn Smith
Leader of the Labour Party
In office
2 October 1983  18 July 1992
DeputyRoy Hattersley
Preceded byMichael Foot
Succeeded byJohn Smith
Shadow Secretary of State for Education and Science
In office
14 July 1979  2 October 1983
LeaderJames Callaghan
Michael Foot
Preceded byGordon Oakes
Succeeded byGiles Radice
Member of the House of Lords
Lord Temporal
Assumed office
28 January 2005
Life peerage
Member of Parliament
for Islwyn
Bedwellty (1970–1983)
In office
18 June 1970  20 January 1995
Preceded byHarold Finch
Succeeded byDon Touhig
Personal details
Born
Neil Gordon Kinnock

(1942-03-28) 28 March 1942 (age 79)
Tredegar, Monmouthshire, Wales
Political partyLabour
Spouse(s)
(m. 1967)
Children2, including Stephen
Alma materCardiff University

Born and raised in South Wales, Kinnock was first elected to the House of Commons in the 1970 general election. He became the Labour Party’s shadow education minister after the Conservatives won power in the 1979 general election. After the party under Michael Foot suffered a landslide defeat to Margaret Thatcher in the 1983 election, Kinnock was elected Leader of the Labour Party and Leader of the Opposition. During his tenure as leader, Kinnock proceeded to fight the party's left wing, especially Militant tendency, and he opposed NUM leader Arthur Scargill's methods in the 1984–85 miners' strike. He led the party during most of the Thatcher administration, which included its third successive election defeat when Thatcher won the 1987 general election. Although Thatcher had won another landslide, Labour regained sufficient seats for Kinnock to remain Leader of the Opposition following the election.

Kinnock led the Labour Party to a surprise fourth consecutive defeat at the 1992 general election, despite the party being ahead of John Major’s Conservative government in most opinion polls, which had predicted either a narrow Labour victory or a hung parliament. Shortly afterwards, he resigned as Leader of the Labour Party, being succeeded in the ensuing leadership election by John Smith. He left the House of Commons in 1995 to become a European Commissioner. He went on to become the Vice-President of the European Commission under Romano Prodi from 1999–2004, before being elevated to the House of Lords as Baron Kinnock in 2005. Until the summer of 2009, he was also Chairman of the British Council and President of Cardiff University.[2]