Richard Corbett

Richard Corbett

Infobox MEP

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name = Richard Corbett
honorific-suffix = MEP
party = Party of European Socialists
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parliament = European
term_start = 1996
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birth_date = Birth date and age|195|1|6|df=y
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nationality = British
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:"Note: this article concerns the contemporary MEP. For the 17th century poet, see Richard Corbett (poet)."

Richard Corbett (born January 6, 1955, Southport, Lancashire) is a Member of the European Parliament for the Labour Party for Yorkshire and the Humber. He has been a member of the European Parliament since 1996. Under the single member constituency system that predates the present proportional representation system, he represented Merseyside West.


Corbett was educated at Farnborough Road School in Southport, the International School of Geneva and Oxford University and later did an external doctorate at the University of Hull. At school, he was captain of the football team and played for the junior team of a Swiss second division club. At university, he was the secretary of the Labour Club and chairman of the European StudentsFact|date=July 2008 and he co-ordinated the Oxford student "Yes" campaign in the 1975 referendum on membership of the European Economic Community. He also skied for Oxford against Cambridge.

The European Parliament

Richard Corbett's activities in the European StudentsFact|date=July 2008 organisation led to him being elected first to the youth board of the European Movement in Britain and then to the presidency of the Movement's European-level youth wing, the Young European Federalists (JEF), a post he held from 1979 to 1981. Corbett was secretary-general of the European Co-ordination Bureau of International non-governmental Youth Organisations from 1977 to 1981, representing youth organisations in the Council of Europe's European Youth Foundation and European Youth Centre; helped to set up the European Youth Forum; and represented western European youth organisations in negotiations with Eastern European organisations pursuant to the Helsinki Treaty (as well as at the World Festival of Youth in Havana in 1978 along with Charles Clarke and Peter Mandelson).

Before being elected to the European Parliament, Corbett worked in the voluntary sectorFact|date=July 2008 and as a civil servantFact|date=July 2008 [] , later becoming a policy advisor to and then Deputy Secretary General of the Socialist Group in the European Parliament. He worked on drafting the parts of the treaties of Maastricht and Amsterdam that increased the powers of the Parliament, notably helping to draft the "codecision procedure" which now applies for adopting European legislation through successive readings of the Parliament and the Council.

Corbett is a member of the Parliament's Constitutional Affairs committee and is the spokesman for the Labour Party, as well as the whole of the wider Group of the Party of European Socialists, on European constitutional affairs. In 2006, he was elected Deputy Leader of the European Parliamentary Labour Party.

In 2003 his proposals to re-write the European Parliament's [ Rules of Procedure] were largely accepted. In 2004/05, he was the co-rapporteur (with Iñigo Méndez de Vigo) for Parliament on the Treaty establishing a constitution for Europe. This report formed the basis of Parliament's official position on the treaty, which he was then invited to present to several national parliaments.

In 2005, he was appointed as Parliament's negotiator (along with Joseph Daul MEP) to broker a new system of parliamentary scrutiny over Commission implementing measures (under the previously much-criticised "comitology" procedure), which led to an agreement between the Council of Ministers, the Commission and the Parliament in 2006 giving Parliament the right to veto quasi-legislative implementing measures. This represented a major increase in Parliament's powers over the Commission.

In 2007-08, he was again co-rapporteur with Iñigo Méndez de Vigo for Parliament on the Treaty of Lisbon.

Throughout his career, Richard Corbett has been a strong advocate of EU reform and has a particular interest in improving democratic accountability by continuing to increase the European Parliament’s power within EU institutions.

Other activities

In 2006 he served on the Independent Review of the governance of European Football, set up by several national governments and UEFA and chaired by the former Portuguese Deputy Prime Minister Jose Luis Arnaut.

He has held a number of offices in the Labour Party, notably on the Regional board (Yorkshire)and the National Policy Forum. He is Chair of the Labour Movement for Europe MEP group.

Richard Corbett is also the co-author of an eponymous academic textbook on the European Parliament (now the standard reference book on it across Europe) and several other publictions. He was the first MEP from any country to have a blog [] . He now also posts video blogs on his website.

Richard Corbett lives in Saltaire, Yorkshire, and has his constituency office in Leeds, where he shares premises with Hilary Benn MP.

He speaks English, French, German and Dutch.

Richard Corbett versus the UK Independence Party

Richard Corbett has shown concern over the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), and has been critical of them.

In this context he courted controversy in June 2004 with claims in The Independent newspaper of UKIP links with the far-right British National Party in the local elections: "In Yorkshire, where both the BNP and UKIP put up candidates, they appear to have come to an arrangement not to stand against one another". The Independent refused to print a counter-claim that this was untrue.

Richard Corbett's pamphlet "25 Things You Didn't Know When You Voted For UKIP" [] , published by Britain in Europe in 2004, was the subject of further controversy in October 2004, when the UKIP demanded the pamphlet be pulped, claiming that one item in the pamphlet "breaks a court order banning publication of details of a legal action involving one of the party's MEPs", namely the fraud case against Ashley Mote MEP. In practice, this gave further publicity to the pamphlet, which was not pulped.

Following Ashley Mote’s imprisonment in September 2007 for fraud [ [ MEP jailed for benefit fraud - Telegraph ] ] , Corbett called on the government to change the law which allowed the former UKIP MEP to be paid in full during his spell in jail. The Minister responsible for payment of MEPs (and MPs), Harriet Harman promised to look into the matter.




External links

* [ Official website]
* [ Richard Corbett's blog]
* [ Profile on European Parliament website]

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