Neil Kinnock


Biography of Neil Kinnock

Neil Gordon Kinnock, Baron Kinnock (born 28 March 1942) is a British Labour Party politician. 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, making him the longest-serving Leader of the Opposition in British political history to date, and the longest never to have become Prime Minister.

Following Labour's fourth consecutive defeat in the 1992 general election, Kinnock resigned as leader and resigned from the House of Commons three years later in order to become a European Commissioner. He went on to become the Vice-President of the European Commission under Romano Prodi from 1999 to 2004. Until the summer of 2009, he was also the Chairman of the British Council and the President of Cardiff University.

Kinnock, an only child, was born in Tredegar, Wales. 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. Gordon died of a heart attack in November 1971 aged 64; Mary died the following month aged 61.

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).

He has been married to Glenys since 1967. They have two children – son Stephen (born January 1970), and daughter Rachel (born 1971). They now have four grandchildren. Glenys has also served the Labour Party as a Member of European Parliament.

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