Labour's Euro loss sees dons triumph

June 18, 1999

The Labour Party is reeling after last week's European Parliament elections - but parties started by, run by or starring academics were the big winners.

The two parties to have gained most from the switch to proportional representation for Euro elections were the Greens and the UK Independence Party. The Greens' leader, Mike Woodin, is a psychology lecturer at Oxford but is not an MEP. The UK Independence Party, founded by Alan Sked, then at the London School of Economics, won three seats in Strasbourg. Its MEPs will oppose the euro and the European Union itself.

A slightly less extreme position will be adopted by the three academics among the Tories' 34 winners to Labour's 26. Top of the Tory list in London was Theresa Villiers, a law lecturer at King's College, London. Second on the Conservative list and also elected was Charles Tannock, a senior lecturer and consultant psychiatrist at University College Hospital and medical school in London. In south-east England Roy Perry, a former senior lecturer in politics, was also elected as a Conservative.

In Scotland another academic lawyer, Neil MacCormick, professor of public law at Edinburgh University and a seasoned campaigner for the Scottish National Party, became an MEP for the Nationalists, while another, Elspeth Attwooll, lecturer in jurisprudence and comparative law at Glasgow University, won Scotland's only Liberal Democrat seat. A Labour seat goes to Catherine Taylor, 25, ex-president of St Andrews University's students association.

However, all these professors (and others in Europe including two on France's National Front slate) were upstaged by Ilka Schroder, a German Green who became an MEP at 21. Still a student, she plans to complete her economics degree.

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