I’m very pleased that my colleague, North-East MEP Stephen Hughes, is running for the leadership (President as they call it here) of the Socialist and Democrat Group in the European Parliament. European Voice ran this article last week indicating that the contest has now begun, assuming, of course, that the vacancy for Group President is actually created due to Martin Schulz taking over as President of the European Parliament.
Stephen will make an excellent Group leader. He has huge experience of economic and social issues, having been Chair and Socialist Group Co-ordinator of the Employment and Social Affairs Committee. Stephen deserves a medal for his long service as an MEP, 26 years in all. With this has come considerable knowledge of the Socialist and Democrat Group, the European Parliament and how to get things done in this place.
The great thing about Stephen is that he listens and part of his election platform is to listen to Group members and develop a common purpose. I am sure I”m not alone in welcoming this. Those in leadership positions sometimes have a tendency to carry on without taking the views of their supporters into account. I’m confident Stephen will not do that and will represent Socialist and Democrat MEPs in a fair and reasonable way.
We will vote on the President position at the mid-point of the current parliamentary mandate, sometime at the end of 2011 or the beginning of 2012. This obviously means a long campaign and I will try and keep you updated as much as possible.