Neil Kinnock

Neil Kinnock
The Right Honourable
The Lord Kinnock
Leader of the Opposition
In office
2 October 1983 – 18 July 1992
Monarch Elizabeth II
Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher
John Major
Preceded by Michael Foot
Succeeded by John Smith
Leader of the Labour Party
In office
2 October 1983 – 18 July 1992
Deputy Roy Hattersley
Preceded by Michael Foot
Succeeded by John Smith
Vice-President of the European Commission
In office
16 September 1999 – 21 November 2004
President Romano Prodi
Preceded by Leon Brittan
Succeeded by Günter Verheugen
European Commissioner for Administrative Reform
In office
16 September 1999 – 21 November 2004
Preceded by Erkki Liikanen
Succeeded by Siim Kallas
European Commissioner for Transport
In office
16 February 1995 – 16 September 1999
Preceded by Karel Van Miert
Succeeded by Loyola de Palacio
Shadow Education Secretary
In office
4 May 1979 – 2 October 1983
Leader James Callaghan
Michael Foot
Preceded by Mark Carlisle
Succeeded by John Smith
Member of Parliament
for Islwyn
In office
9 June 1983 – 16 February 1995
Preceded by Constituency Established
Succeeded by Don Touhig
Member of Parliament
for Bedwellty
In office
18 June 1970 – 9 June 1983
Preceded by Harold Finch
Succeeded by Constituency Abolished
Personal details
Born 28 March 1942 (1942-03-28) (age 69)
Tredegar, Wales
Nationality Welsh
Political party Labour
Spouse(s) Glenys Kinnock (m. 1967–present)
Children Stephen Kinnock
Religion Agnostic

Neil Gordon Kinnock, Baron Kinnock (born 28 March 1942) is a Welsh politician belonging to the Labour Party. He served as a Member of Parliament from 1970 until 1995 and as Labour Leader and Leader of Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition from 1983 until 1992 - his leadership of the party during nearly nine years (all in opposition) making him the longest serving opposition leader in British political history.

Following Labour's defeat in the 1992 election, Kinnock resigned as party leader and after his departure from the House of Commons three years later served as a European Commissioner from 1995–2004. Until the summer of 2009 he was the Chairman of the British Council.[1] Kinnock served as President of Cardiff University from 1998 until 2009. Today, he is regarded as one of Labour's elder statesmen.


Early life

Kinnock, an only child, was born in Tredegar, Wales.[2] His father Gordon Herbert Kinnock was a coal miner who suffered from dermatitis and had to find work as a labourer; and his mother Mary Kinnock was a district nurse.[3][4] Gordon died of a heart attack in November 1971 aged 64;[5] Mary died the following month aged 61.[5]

In 1953, 11-year-old Kinnock began his secondary education at Lewis School, Pengam, which he later criticised for its record on caning in schools. He went on to the University College of South Wales and Monmouthshire, obtaining a degree in industrial relations and history in 1965. A year later, Kinnock obtained a postgraduate diploma in education. Between August 1966 and May 1970, he worked as a tutor for a Workers' Educational Association (WEA).[6]

He married Glenys Parry in 1967; they have two children – son Stephen (born January 1970), and daughter Rachel (born 1971). They now have four grandchildren.[citation needed]

Member of Parliament

In June 1969 he won the Labour Party nomination for the constituency of Bedwellty in Wales (later Islwyn) for the following general election. He was elected on 18 June 1970 and became a member of the National Executive Committee of the Labour Party in October 1978. On becoming an MP for the first time, his father said "Remember Neil, MP stands not just for Member of Parliament, but also for Man of Principle". Labour government policy at the time was in favour of devolution for Wales, but the wider party was split. Calling himself a 'unionist', Kinnock was one of six south Wales Labour MPs to campaign against devolution on centralist, essentially British-nationalist grounds. He dismissed the idea of a Welsh identity, saying that "between the mid-sixteenth century and the mid-eighteenth century Wales had practically no history at all, and even before that it was the history of rural brigands who have been ennobled by being called princes".[7] In the Wales referendum, 1979, the proposal for devolution was rejected.

Following Labour's defeat in the 1979 general election, James Callaghan appointed Neil Kinnock to the Shadow Cabinet as Education spokesman. His ambition was noted by other MPs, and David Owen's opposition to the changes to the electoral college was thought to be motivated by the realisation that they would favour Kinnock's succession. He remained as Education spokesman following the resignation of Callaghan as party leader and the election of Michael Foot as his successor in late 1980.

He was known as a left-winger, and gained notoriety for his attacks on Margaret Thatcher's handling of the Falklands War in 1982.

Leadership of the Labour Party

First period (1983–1987)

Shortly after Labour's hefty election defeat in June 1983, the almost 70-year-old Michael Foot resigned as leader and from the outset it was expected that Kinnock would succeed him. He was finally elected as Labour Party leader on 2 October 1983, with 71% of the vote, and Roy Hattersley was elected as his deputy; their prospective partnership was considered to be a 'dream ticket'.[8]

His first period as party leader – between the 1983 and 1987 elections – was dominated by his struggle with the hard left, then still strong in the party. Kinnock was determined to move the party's political standing to a centre-left position.[9] Although Kinnock had come from the Tribune left of the party, he parted company with many of his former allies after his appointment to the shadow cabinet.

In 1981, when still Labour's Education spokesman, Kinnock was alleged to have effectively scuppered Tony Benn's attempt to replace Denis Healey as Labour's deputy leader by first supporting the candidacy of the more traditionalist Tribunite John Silkin and then urging Silkin supporters to abstain on the second, run-off, ballot.

All this meant that Kinnock had made plenty of enemies on the left by the time he was elected as leader, though a substantial number of former Bennites gave him strong backing. He was almost immediately in serious difficulty as a result of Arthur Scargill's decision to lead his union, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) into a national strike (in opposition to pit closures) without a members' ballot. The NUM was widely regarded as the labour movement's praetorian guard and the strike convulsed the Labour movement.[who?] Kinnock supported the aim of the strike – which he famously dubbed the "case for coal" – but, as an MP from a mining area, was bitterly critical of the tactics employed. In 1985 he made his criticisms public in a speech to Labour's conference[10]:

The strike wore on. The violence built up because the single tactic chosen was that of mass picketing, and so we saw policing on a scale and with a system that has never been seen in Britain before. The court actions came, and by the attitude to the court actions, the NUM leadership ensured that they would face crippling damages as a consequence. To the question: "How did this position arise?", the man from the lodge in my constituency said: "It arose because nobody really thought it out."

The strike's defeat early in the year,[11] and the bad publicity associated with the entryism practised by the Militant tendency were the immediate background for the 1985 Labour Party conference.[12] Earlier in the year left-wing councils had protested at Government restriction of their budgets by refusing to set budgets, resulting in a budget crisis in Militant-dominated Liverpool City Council. Kinnock attacked Militant and their conduct in Liverpool in one of the best remembered passages of any post-war British political speech:

I'll tell you what happens with impossible promises. You start with far-fetched resolutions. They are then pickled into a rigid dogma, a code, and you go through the years sticking to that, out-dated, misplaced, irrelevant to the real needs, and you end in the grotesque chaos of a Labour council – a Labour council! – hiring taxis to scuttle round a city handing out redundancy notices to its own workers.

One Liverpool MP, Eric Heffer, a member of the NEC. left the conference stage in disgust at Kinnock's comments.[13] In June 1986 the Labour Party finally expelled the deputy leader of Liverpool council, the high profile Militant supporter Derek Hatton, who was found guilty of "manipulating the rules of the district Labour party".[14] By 1986, the party's position appeared to strengthen further with excellent local election results and a thorough rebranding of the party under the direction of Kinnock's director of communications Peter Mandelson.[15] Labour, now sporting a continental social democratic style emblem of a rose, appeared to be able to run the governing Conservatives close, but Margaret Thatcher did not let Labour's makeover go unchallenged.

The Conservatives' 1986 conference was well-managed, and effectively relaunched the Conservatives as a party of radical free-market liberalism. Labour suffered from a persistent image of extremism, especially as Kinnock's campaign to root out Militant dragged on as figures on the hard left of the party tried to stop its progress. Opinion polls showed that voters favoured retaining Britain's nuclear weapons and believed that the Conservatives would be better than Labour at defending the country.[16]

1987 general election

In early 1987, Labour lost a by-election in Greenwich to the Social Democratic Party's Rosie Barnes. As a result, Labour faced the 1987 election in some danger of coming third in the popular vote. In secret, Labour's aim became to secure second place.[17]

Labour fought a professional campaign that at one point scared the Tories into thinking they might lose. Mandelson and his team had revolutionised Labour's communications – a transformation symbolised by a party election broadcast popularly known as "Kinnock: The Movie".[18] This was directed by Hugh Hudson and featured Kinnock's 1985 conference speech, and shots of him and Glenys walking on the Great Orme in Llandudno (so emphasising his appeal as a family man and associating him with images of Wales away from the coalmining communities where he grew up), and a speech to that year's Welsh Labour Party conference asking why he was the "first Kinnock in a thousand generations" to go to university.

Then-Delaware Senator, presidential candidate and future U.S. Vice President Joe Biden was so impressed with Kinnock's speech that he borrowed lines from it in his own campaign speeches in the summer of 1987.[19]

On polling day, Labour easily took second place, but with only 31 per cent to the SDP-Liberal Alliance's 22 per cent.[20] Labour was still more than ten percentage points behind the Conservatives, who retained a three-figure majority in the House of Commons. However, the Conservative government's majority had come down from 144 in 1983 to 102.[21] Labour won extra seats in Scotland, Wales and Northern England, but lost ground particularly in Southern England and London. Nevertheless, the party still made a net gain in seats.

Second period (1987–1992)

The second period of Kinnock's leadership was dominated by his drive to reform the party's policies and so win power. This began with an exercise dubbed the policy review, the most high-profile aspect of which was a series of consultations with the public known as "Labour Listens" in the autumn of 1987.[22]

In organisational terms, the party leadership continued to battle with the Militant tendency, though by now Militant was in retreat in the party and was simultaneously attracted by the opportunities to grow outside Labour's ranks – opportunities largely created by Margaret Thatcher's hugely unpopular poll tax.

After Labour Listens, the party went on, in 1988, to produce a new statement of aims and values – meant to supplement and supplant the formulation of Clause IV of the party's constitution (though, crucially, this was not actually replaced until 1995 under the leadership of Tony Blair) and was closely modelled on Anthony Crosland's social-democratic thinking – emphasising equality rather than public ownership. At the same time the commitment to unilateral nuclear disarmament was dropped, and reforms of Party Conference and the National Executive meant that local parties lost much of their ability to influence policy.

In 1988, Kinnock was challenged by Tony Benn for the party leadership. Later many identified this as a particularly low period in Kinnock's leadership – as he appeared mired in internal battles after five years of leadership and the Conservatives still dominating the scene and ahead in the opinion polls. In the end, though, Kinnock won a decisive victory over Benn and would soon enjoy a substantial rise in support[23].

The policy review – reporting in 1989 – coincided with Labour's move ahead in the polls as the poll tax row was destroying Conservative support, and Labour won big victories in local by-elections. Kinnock was also perceived as scoring in debates over Margaret Thatcher in the Commons – previously an area in which he was seen as weak – and finally Conservative MPs challenged Thatcher's leadership and she resigned on 22 November 1990 to be succeeded by John Major. Kinnock greeted Thatcher's resignation by describing it as "very good news" and demanded an immediate general election.[24]

Public reaction to Major's elevation was highly positive. A new Prime Minister and the fact that Kinnock was now current leader of a major party reduced the impact of calls for "Time for a Change". Neil Kinnock's showing in the opinion polls dipped; before Mrs Thatcher's resignation, Labour had been up to 10 points ahead of the Tories in the opinion polls (an Ipsos MORI poll in April 1990 had actually shown Labour more than 20 points ahead of the Tories), but many opinion polls were actually showing the Tories with more support than Labour, in spite of the deepening recession.[25]

1992 general election, backbenches and retirement

Sun headline

In the 1992 election, Labour made considerable progress – reducing the Conservative majority to just 21 seats. It came as a shock to many when the Conservatives remained in power, but the perceived triumphalism of a Labour party rally in Sheffield (together with Kinnock's performance on the podium) may have helped put voters off. (Although most of those directly involved in the campaign believe that the rally really came to widespread attention only after the election itself.)[26]

In the run-up to the election, held on 9 April 1992, most opinion polls had suggested that the election would end in a hung parliament or a narrow Labour majority.[27]

On the day of the general election, The Sun ran a front page featuring Kinnock (headline: "If Kinnock wins today will the last person to leave Britain please turn out the lights") that he blamed in his resignation speech for losing Labour the election. Kinnock also blamed his defeat on the other newspapers who had backed the Tories in the run-up to the election.[28]

In the three years leading up to the 1992 election, Labour had consistently topped the opinion polls, with 1991 seeing the Tories (rejuvenated by the arrival of a new leader in John Major the previous November) snatch the lead off Labour more than once before Labour regained it[29]. Since Major's election as leader Kinnock spent the end of 1990[30] and most of 1991 putting pressure on Major to hold the election that year, but Major had held out and insisted that there would be no general election in 1991.

Kinnock himself later claimed to have half-expected his defeat in the 1992 election and proceeded to turn himself into a media personality, even hosting a chat show on BBC Wales and twice appearing – with considerable success – on the topical panel show Have I Got News For You within a year of the defeat. Many years later, he returned to appear as a guest host of the programme.

Kinnock announced his resignation as Labour Party leader on 13 April 1992, ending eight and a half years in the role - making him the longest serving opposition leader in British political history. He had gained this distinction in November 1990, and no subsequent opposition party leader has yet matched this record.[31]

John Smith, previously Shadow Chancellor, was his successor as party leader.[32]

He remains on the Advisory Council of the Institute for Public Policy Research, which he helped set up in the 1980s.

He was an enthusiastic supporter of Ed Miliband's campaign to lead the Labour Party in 2010, and was reported as telling activists, when Ed Miliband won, "We've got our party back".[33]

Biden incident

Kinnock gained attention in the United States in 1987 when it was discovered that then-Senator Joe Biden of Delaware quoted one of Kinnock's speeches but forgot to credit him during his 1988 presidential campaign in a speech at a Democratic debate in Iowa in August 1987.[34] This led to Biden's withdrawing from the race.[35]

Biden was elected Vice President of the United States in 2008; on 18 January 2009 Glenys Kinnock revealed on the BBC's Andrew Marr Show that she and Neil Kinnock had received a personal invitation from Biden to attend the inauguration of Barack Obama and Biden on 20 January 2009 at the United States Capitol in Washington.

European Union Commissioner

Kinnock was appointed one of Britain's two members of the European Commission, which he served first as Transport Commissioner under President Jacques Santer, in early 1995; marking the end of his 25 years in UK parliament.[36] This came less than a year after the death of his successor as Labour leader John Smith and the election of Tony Blair as the party's new leader.[37]

He was obliged to resign as part of the forced, collective resignation of the Commission in 1999, but there was never any suggestion that he himself had done anything corrupt. He was re-appointed to the Commission under new President Romano Prodi. He now became one of the Vice-Presidents of the European Commission. His term of office as a Commissioner was due to expire on 30 October 2004, but was delayed owing to the withdrawal of the new Commissioners. During this second term of office on the Commission, he was responsible for introducing new staff regulations for EU officials, a significant feature of which was substantial salary cuts for everyone employed after 1 May 2004, reduced pension prospects for many others, and gradually worsening employment conditions. This made him disliked by many EU staff members, although the pressure on budgets that largely drove these changes had actually been imposed on the Commission from above by the Member States in Council.

In February 2004 it was announced that with effect from 1 November 2004 Kinnock would become head of the British Council. Coincidentally, at the same time, his son Stephen became head of the British Council branch in St. Petersburg, Russia. At the end of October, it was announced that he would become a member of the House of Lords (intending to be a working peer), when he was able to leave his EU responsibilities. In 1977, he had remained in the House of Commons, with Dennis Skinner, while other MPs walked to the Lords to hear the Queen's speech opening the new parliament. He had dismissed going to the Lords in recent interviews. Kinnock explained his change of attitude, despite the continuing presence of 90 hereditary peers and appointment by patronage, by asserting that the Lords was a good base for campaigning.

Life peerage

He was introduced to the House of Lords on 31 January 2005, after being created Baron Kinnock, of Bedwellty in the County of Gwent.[38][39] On assuming his seat he stated, "I accepted the kind invitation to enter the House of Lords as a working peer for practical political reasons." When his peerage was first announced, he said, "It will give me the opportunity... to contribute to the national debate on issues like higher education, research, Europe and foreign policy." His peerage meant that the Labour and Conservative parties were equal in numbers in the upper house of Parliament (since then, the number of Labour members has overtaken the number of Conservative members). Kinnock was a long-time critic of the House of Lords, and his acceptance of a peerage led him to be accused of hypocrisy, by Will Self,[40] among others.[41]

Personal life

He is married to Glenys Kinnock, Britain's Minister for Africa and the United Nations from 2009 to 2010, and a Labour Member of the European Parliament (MEP) from 1994 to 2009. When she was made a life peer in 2009, they became one of the few couples to both hold titles in their own right. The two met while studying at University College, Cardiff, where they were known as "the power and the glory" (Glenys the power), and they married on 25 March 1967.[42] Previously living together in Peterston-Super-Ely, a village near the western outskirts of Cardiff, in 2008 they moved to Tufnell Park, London, to be closer to their daughter and grandchildren.[43]

They have a son, Stephen and a daughter, Rachel.[44] Stephen is married to Helle Thorning-Schmidt, Prime Minister of Denmark and leader of the Danish Social Democrats political party. He is assistant director of the British Council in Sierra Leone. Rachel worked in the Political Office at 10 Downing Street under Gordon Brown.

In 1984, Kinnock appeared in the video for the Tracey Ullman song "My Guy" (his daughter was a fan) as a someone with a clipboard canvassing on a council estate. The record reached #23 in the charts.

On 26 April 2006, Neil Kinnock was given a six-month driving ban after being found guilty of two speeding offences along the M4 motorway, west of London.[45]

Neil Kinnock is a lifelong Cardiff City F.C. fan and regularly attends matches.[46]

Kinnock is an agnostic.[47]


The character Paris Geller in popular 2000's U.S. TV programme The Gilmore Girls referred to Kinnock's voice as something she swooned over in her younger days; this may have been a tongue-in-cheek remark. The professor she dated in the series was Michael York who spoke with a strong English accent; Kinnock speaks with a distinct Welsh accent.

In Episode 4 ("Animals") of the British sitcom Men Behaving Badly, Series 1, Dermot (played by Harry Enfield) says to Gary (played by Martin Clunes), "There she was, just standing there, making Michelle Pfeiffer look like Neil Kinnock." He was referring to Kate (played by Louise Hunt).

Styles and titles

  • Neil Kinnock, Esq. (1942–1970)
  • Neil Kinnock, Esq., MP (1970–1983)
  • The Rt. Hon. Neil Kinnock MP (1983–1995)
  • The Rt. Hon. Neil Kinnock (1995–2005)
  • The Rt. Hon. The Lord Kinnock PC (2005–)

See also


  1. ^ "". Retrieved 2 October 2010. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ David Wilsford (1995). Political leaders of contemporary Western Europe: a biographical dictionary. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 236. ISBN 978-0-313-28623-0. Retrieved 2 October 2011. 
  4. ^ Hunter Davis; Frank Herrmann (July 1982). Great Britain. H. Hamilton. p. 173. Retrieved 2 October 2011. 
  5. ^ a b Eileen Jones (29 April 1994). Neil Kinnock. Hale. p. 29. ISBN 978-0-7090-5239-5. Retrieved 2 October 2011. 
  6. ^
  7. ^ Evans, Gwynfor (2000). The Fight for Welsh Freedom. Talybont: Y Lolfa Cyf. p. 7. ISBN 0-86243-515-3. 
  8. ^ "1983: 'Dream ticket' wins Labour leadership". On This Day (BBC News). 2 October 1983. Retrieved 29 September 2010. 
  9. ^ General election: "11 June 1987", BBC Politics 97
  10. ^ "Leader's speech, Bournemouth 1985: Neil Kinnock (Labour)". British Political Speeches. 3 March 1985. 
  11. ^ "1985: Miners call off year-long strike". BBC News. 3 March 1985. 
  12. ^ For a history of the Militant tendency in the Labour Party, see Eric Shaw Discipline and Discord in the Labour Party: The Politics of Managerial Control in the Labour Party, 1951-87, Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1988, p.218-90 and Michael Crick The March of Militant, London: Faber, 1986
  13. ^ James Naughtie "Labour in Bournemouth", The Guardian, 2 October 1985
  14. ^ "1986: Labour expels Militant Hatton", BBC On This Day, 12 June
  15. ^
  16. ^ Anthony King (ed.), British Political Opinion, 1937–2000: The Gallup Polls (Politico's, 2001), pp. 105–7.
  17. ^ "The rise and fall of New Labour". BBC News. 3 August 2010. 
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^ Durkin, Paul. "Leadership Elections: Labour Party" (PDF). House of Commons Library. Retrieved 3 May 2010. 
  24. ^ [1]
  25. ^ "Poll tracker: Interactive guide to the opinion polls". BBC News. 29 September 2009. 
  26. ^ Barnard, Stephanie (27 July 2009). "Kinnock came and didn't conquer". BBC News. 
  27. ^ "1992: Tories win again against odds". BBC News. 5 April 2005. 
  28. ^ "1992: Labour's Neil Kinnock resigns". On This Day (BBC News). 13 April 1992. Retrieved 29 September 2010. 
  29. ^
  30. ^
  31. ^ [2]
  32. ^ "1992: Labour's Neil Kinnock resigns". BBC News. 13 April 1992. 
  33. ^ Wheeler, Brian (29 September 2010). ""We've got our party back," says Lord Kinnock". BBC News. Retrieved 29 September 2010. 
  34. ^ Dowd, Maureen (12 September 1987). "Biden's Debate Finale: An Echo From Abroad". The New York Times. 
  35. ^ Dionne Jr., E. J. (24 September 1987). "Biden Withdraws Bid for President in Wake of Furor". The New York Times. 
  36. ^ "Conservatives trounced in poll". The Independent (London). 17 February 1995. 
  37. ^ "1994: Labour chooses Blair". BBC News. 21 July 1994. 
  38. ^ Neil Gordon Kinnock, Baron Kinnock,
  39. ^ House of Lords Journal 238 (Session 2004–05), Monday, 31 January 2005; p. 142
  40. ^ Notably when Kinnock appeared, as the guest presenter, in an episode of Have I Got News For You, on Friday 3 December 2004
  41. ^ "Baron Kinnock makes Lords debut". BBC News. 31 January 2005. Retrieved 29 September 2010. 
  42. ^ Julia Finch, Michael White (5 June 2009). "New faces: Alan Sugar and Glenys Kinnock". The Guardian (UK). Retrieved 8 June 2009. 
  43. ^ Camden New Journal, 10 January 2008, p.10.
  44. ^ Harper, James (21 July 2002). "Kinnock gives his girl away". Sunday Mirror. Retrieved 29 September 2010. 
  45. ^ "Neil Kinnock banned from driving". BBC News. 26 April 2006. Retrieved 29 September 2010. 
  46. ^ "Cardiff's Sunday quest". BBC News. 23 April 2002. Retrieved 29 September 2010. 
  47. ^ "Free thought of the Day". 28 March 2009. 

Further reading

  • Martin Westlake and Ian St. John, Kinnock, Little Brown Book Group Limited, 2001. ISBN 0-316-84871-9.
  • Peter Kellner, essay on Neil Kinnock in G. Rosen (ed.), Dictionary of Labour Biography, Politicos Publishing, 2001. ISBN 1-902301-18-8
  • Michael Leapman, Kinnock, Unwin Hyman, 1987.
  • George Drower, Neil Kinnock: The Path to Leadership, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1984.
  • Greg Rosen, Old Labour to New, Politicos Publishing, 2005 (an account of the Labour Party before, during and after the Kinnock years). ISBN 1-84275-045-3
  • Patrick Wintour and Colin Hughes, Labour Rebuilt, Fourth Estate, 1990 (an account of Kinnock's modernisation of the Labour Party).

External links

Offices held

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Harold Finch
Member of Parliament for Bedwellty
Constituency abolished
New constituency Member of Parliament for Islwyn
Succeeded by
Don Touhig
Party political offices
Preceded by
Michael Foot
Leader of the Labour Party
Succeeded by
John Smith
Preceded by
Syd Tierney
Chair of the Labour Party
Succeeded by
Dennis Skinner
Political offices
Preceded by
Michael Foot
Leader of the Opposition
Succeeded by
John Smith
Preceded by
Bruce Millan
European Commissioner from the United Kingdom
with Leon Brittan (1995–1999)
Chris Patten (1999–2004)
Succeeded by
Peter Mandelson
Preceded by
Karel Van Miert
European Commissioner for Transport
Succeeded by
Loyola de Palacio
Preceded by
Erkki Liikanen
European Commissioner for Administrative Reform
Succeeded by
Siim Kallas
Preceded by
Leon Brittan
Vice-President of the European Commission
Succeeded by
Günter Verheugen

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