Home FEATURED Tributes paid to Glenys Kinnock (1944-2023), former Member of the European Parliament

Tributes paid to Glenys Kinnock (1944-2023), former Member of the European Parliament

by EUToday Correspondents
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Glenys Kinnock
Former UK Europe Minister Denis MacShane has led warm tributes to former MEP Glenys Kinnock, who has died at the age of 79.

Glenys Kinnock, who died on Sunday with Alzheimer’s disease, was an MEP for 15 years after being first elected for Wales South-east in 1994 with a record majority.In 2009 she was appointed minister for Europe by Gordon Brown, who also made her a life peer.

Neil & Glenys Kinnock.

She represented Wales as an MEP from 1994 until 2009 and was co-president of the African, Caribbean and Pacific-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly from 2002-2009.

Her husband Neil was former leader of the UK Labour party and a former vice president of the EU commission.

Speaking to this website on Monday, MacShane, who served under Tony Blair, said, “Glenys was one of Labour’s best Europeans. Her warmth, wit, and wisdom on the reality of Europe, not the negative fantasies of the British Europhobia, made her a champion of a positive partnership with European nations and progressive, reformist parties and movements in Europe. 

“She had a life-long passion for international development and working to alleviate poverty, illiteracy, lack of medical care in the Global South and she was at the heart of Labour becoming a pro-European party after the decades of wasting time being hostile to Europe culminating in the 1983 general election when Labour called for the UK to leave the European Community. 

“Thereafter she worked with her husband, Neil Kinnock, who became a convert to advocating for British participation as a leading European nation. 

“She worked tirelessly to promote the UK and her beloved Wales as part of Europe and she served briefly as European minister with a seat in the House of Lord at the end of the Gordon Brown government in 2009.”

He added, “The Brexit vote was a blow but she got back into harness to explain to Labour why passively accepting the English right wing nationalism the Conservative Party promoted as part of its now discredited Brexit ideology was a dead-end. 

“Her last years under the thrall of dementia were sad but few women of the recent years of the Labour party were as much loved and respected.”

Former UK PM Gordon Brown said: “All who met Glenys Kinnock admired her for her generosity, her warmth and her passionate support for the best of national and international causes. She was a highly effective and popular minister for Europe in the last Labour government.”

Alastair Campbell, who was Tony Blair’s director of communications, said: “Glenys would understand that many will remember her as part of that remarkable couple. But she was a formidable political force in her own right. Mandela no less adored her.

“She was a committed MEP, heartbroken by Brexit, and a brilliant minister for Europe, Africa and the UN. Many people in many parts of the world will be very sad today. A bright and beautiful light has gone out, leaving the world a sadder place, but those who knew her with so many memories of a great woman.”

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