Profile of Edward McMillan-Scott

Edward McMillan-Scott comes from a farming and professional background. Born in Cambridge he was educated privately by the Dominican friars. At school he ran the debating society and the printing press.

As a young man he was a tour director with a US company, taking groups across Europe, the former Soviet Union - where he was briefly arrested for straying off the tourist path in Leningrad (now St Petersburg) - as well as Africa. 

He then worked in PR and governmental affairs, founding his own Whitehall company with clients including the Falkland Islands Government, before his election to the European Parliament (see About Edward's politics, right).


His late father was an architect 
and lifelong Liberal, while his late mother (right) was an active Conservative. In 1967 he joined the Party. He was a busy branch member, and later became a branch chairman up to and through the 1983 General Election. 

He joined the European Movement in the run-up to the 1975 referendum on Britain's EC membership and was active in the cross-party campaign for a 'Yes' vote.

In 1972 he married Henrietta, a lawyer (below centre). They have two daughters - Lucinda (l) born in 1973 and Arabella (r) born in 1976 - and three grand-daughters, Edie (r), Esme (l) and Sylvia (born 2012).

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His hobbies are reading, classical music, conservation and modern art. 

About Edward's politics

Edward McMillan-Scott was a Yorkshire & Humber MEP from 1984 to 2014. He was Vice-President of the European Parliament 2004 - 2014 with responsibility for Democracy & Human Rights. He was not re-elected in the European election of May 2014. He was voted a Patron of the European Movement in November 2014.

A life-long pro-European, Edward opposed David Cameron's pledge to Eurosceptics in his leadership campaign to remove his MEPs from the EU's mainstream. They had joined the EPP group (Conservatives and Christian Democrats) at the behest of Margaret Thatcher, and Edward negotiated a more detached relationship while he was Leader of the 36 Tory MEPs 1997-2001.

After the 2009 Euro-election, Cameron  formed a controversial new alliance with a 'bunch of homophobes, anti-Semites and climate-change deniers' (Nick Clegg). Edward protested and stood successfully against its nominee for Vice-President of the European Parliament, a Polish MEP with a recent extremist past (see Daily Telegraph article here ) He was smeared by the Tory Press Office during a long dispute (see email redacted by them).

He joined the Liberal Democrats in March 2010, having worked closely with them for years, especially on human rights and democracy.

He described the Coalition formed in May 2010 as 'the happiest moment in my political life: Liberal Democrats have tamed the Conservative extremists'. 

He founded the €150 million European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR), which promotes democracy and human rights worldwide, the only EU programme operating without host country consent, and still the world's largest. A frequent visitor to the Middle East, and a relation of T E Lawrence ('of Arabia') he has long advocated democratic reforms across the Arab world. 

Recognised and respected as a staunch defender of human rights, from dissidents in the ex-Soviet bloc to China, Edward lends his voice to the voiceless. He is pictured right co-hosting an EU-US Dialogue with former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.

Edward was first chairman of the European Parliament's Audit Panel 2004-2012 in recognition of his lead role in highlighting corruption and malpractice in the EU Commission. This initiative finally led to the 
resignation en masse of Commissioners in 1999 (although Edward exonerated UK Commissioners Brittan and Kinnock from blame), and then to widespread reforms in the European Parliament itself from 2009.

He was awarded the Medal of Honour in 2013 by the Venice-based European Inter-University Centre for Human Rights and Democratisation 'in recognition of his lasting efforts in the promotion and protection of human rights'.

He won the 'Outstanding Contribution' award from the Brussels Parliament Magazine - sister to Westminster's House Magazine - in 2012 for his chairmanship of the Single Seat campaign to base MEPs exclusively in Brussels. 

Edward advocates civil liberties, fair elections, fair taxation, education reform and radical reform of the EU's Common Agricultural Policy. He stopped eating meat in 2008 to draw attention to climate change. ‘Green’ and heritage issues are central to his agenda. A parent and grandparent, he campaigns for better child rights across the EU. He is married to a lawyer, Henrietta.