Last week the European Parliamentary Labour Party hosted an event to celebrate 40 years of directly elected Labour MEPs.
Many current and former MEPs attended, as did many past and present EPLP staff, friends from Brussels-Labour and numerous other colleagues and allies. The evening was introduced by the chair of the EPLP, Theresa Griffin, and I gave a short history of the enormous contribution and achievements of Labour MEPs over the years in shaping and delivering important legislation in line with our socialist values.
We were delighted to have contributions from many of the former leaders of the EPLP, reaching back as far as David Martin (who is our longest serving member) who was leader in 1987-88. Although some could not attend, their messages were brilliantly delivered by colleagues and friends.
- 1987-88 David Martin (read by Maggie Coulthard)
- 1989-93 Glyn Ford (in person)
- 1998-99 Alan Donnelly (in person)
- 2000-02 Simon Murphy (read by Alice Reynolds)
- 2002-08 Gary Titley (read by Shamik Das)
- 2008-17 Glenis Willmott (read by Linda McAvan)
- 2017-19 Richard Corbett (in person)
It was a real privilege to also have a contribution from Margaret Beckett MP (read by the Head of my Office, Jessica Watts) who was Labour Party leader during our most successful European parliamentary elections ever in 1994, when we returned 62 Labour MEPs!
Many people made it clear that this was not a last hurrah, but a celebration of the tremendous importance of British Labour MEPs working together with our European Socialist friends and allies to make the lives of all Europeans safer, more secure, fairer and more sustainable. A wonderful, warm evening enjoyed by all who attended and who, even at this time of national crisis, believe that such cooperation should and can continue.