Tag Archives: personal

  • Remembering Heysel

    Thirty years ago today, I was in Block Z of the Heysel stadium, while 39 people died just a few metres away from me. The memory of this has haunted me ever since. It was also a sobering lesson of how public authorities can try to absolve themselves of any blame, something sadly witnessed again […]

  • European Movement logo

    Vice-Chair of European Movement

    I was honoured to be elected Vice Chair of the UK section of the European Movement this weekend. The European Movement is the most venerable pro-European organisation. It was founded at the 1948 Hague Congress presided over by Winston Churchill, bringing together representatives from across the political spectrum, including Konrad Adenauer, Harold Macmillan, Bertrand Russell, […]

  • Photo from European Parliamentary Labour Party

    Deputy leadership

    I am delighted that my fellow Labour MEPs elected me yesterday evening as their Deputy Leader, a position that became vacant as a result of Claude Moraes moving on to become Chair of Parliament’s committee that deals with European police and justice cooperation. It was a contested election, so I am especially pleased to have […]

  • Photo by Wikipedia user Andrejavus, licensed in CC

    Lessons from history

    Spending my summer break pottering along the Baltic coast from Germany through Poland, Lithuania and Latvia is a reminder of how recently Europe saw horrific slaughters like those now on our television screens in Iraq and Syria. I write these words from Bialystok, where, seventy-five years ago, the Jewish community comprised almost two thirds of […]

  • Photo by Tim Bekaert via Wikimedia

    A view from Ypres

    Travelling back from Brussels to Yorkshire by car this time, we decided to go via Ypres (or Ieper, to give its proper name). It’s always moving to visit the area, with its countless war cemeteries, but never more so than on this 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War. The Menin gate […]

  • Photo by Roger Oldfield via Wikimedia

    Leeds Bradford airport

    Travelling regularly again between Brussels and Yorkshire has enabled me to renew my acquaintance with Leeds Bradford airport. The changes over the last five years are striking — though not all to the good! For a start, it’s now impossible to drop someone off by car, or pick them up, without paying a parking charge […]

  • Photo by Nikita via Flickr

    Welcome back to the playground

    The arrival of new and old MEPs in Strasbourg for the first European Parliament session has been described as feeling like the first week of a new school year — with new pupils (sorry, Members) getting lost, sorting out who gets which room (sorry, office), finding out who will be in which class (sorry, committee) […]

  • Recruiting staff

    I was delighted, if slightly overwhelmed, to receive more than 200 applications for the posts I advertised to work in my parliamentary and constituency offices. Because I knew some of the applicants, and not wanting this to bias the process, I established a set of criteria for scoring the initial applications. The actual evaluations on […]

  • A very kind email

    In the run-up to a national election, working in politics can seem even more exhausting than usual. But occasionally you receive an email — this from a Hertfordshire resident I’ve never met — which reminds you that it can also be immensely rewarding: Dear Richard, My voting card for the May 22 elections has been making […]

  • My mother

    Discerning readers may have noticed that I was little less active on this blog and social media for a few days recently. I took some time out from campaigning because of the death of my mother. I want to say a big thank you to all those who sent me such kind words, many of […]