Neil Kinnock

Knowledge Identifier: +Neil_Kinnock


Neil Kinnock

British Labour Party politician add

Category: Politics

Born in 1942.

Countries: United Kingdom (69%), United States (10%), Wales (6%)

Main connections: Michael Foot, Tony Benn, Conservative Party (UK)

Linked to: Leader of the Labour Party, House of Lords, Conservative Party, Labour Party leadership election, 1988




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Neil Kinnock was born in 1942 add something


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 add something


He went on to the University College of South Wales and Monmouthshire, obtaining a degree in industrial relations and history in 1965 add something


Between August 1966 and May 1970, he worked as a tutor for a Workers' Educational Association add something


He has been married to Glenys Kinnock since 1967 add something


The two met while studying at University College, Cardiff, where they were known as "the power and the glory" , and they married on 25 March 1967 add something


In June 1969 he won the Labour Party nomination for the constituency of Bedwellty in Wales for the following general election add something


He served as a Member of Parliament from 1970 until 1995, first for Bedwellty and for Islwyn add something


He was elected on 18 June 1970 and became a member of the National Executive Committee of the Labour Party in October 1978 add something


Ifor Davies - In 1971, Davies was one of the sixty nine Labour MPs who defied the Labour Whip to vote in favour of entry to the EEC. He campaigned for a 'No' vote in the 1978 referendum in Wales on the establishment of a Welsh Assembly, along with other members of the 'Gang of Six', Neil Kinnock, Leo_Abse, Donald Anderson, Alfred Evans and Ioan Evans


In 1977, he had remained in the House of Commons, with Dennis Skinner, while other MPs walked to the Lords to hear the Queen's speech opening the new parliament add something


Following Labour's defeat in the 1979 general election, James Callaghan appointed Neil Kinnock to the Shadow Cabinet as Education spokesman add something


In the Wales referendum, 1979, the proposal for devolution was rejected add something


He remained as Education spokesman following the resignation of Callaghan as party leader and the election of Michael Foot as his successor in late 1980 add something


He remains on the Advisory Council of the Institute for Public Policy Research, which he helped set up in the 1980s add something


Paul Boateng - Like many other members of the left in the 1980s, he became more moderate under the leadership of Neil Kinnock, who made him a junior Treasury spokesman in 1989, making him the first black person to join the front bench as a party spokesperson


In 1981, when still Labour's Education spokesman, Kinnock was alleged to have effectively scuppered Tony Benn's attempt to replace Denis Healey as Labour's deputy leader by first supporting the candidacy of the more traditionalist Tribunite John Silkin and urging Silkin supporters to abstain on the second, run-off, ballot add something


Charles Clarke - He worked as a researcher, and later Chief of Staff, for Labour Party leader Neil Kinnock from February 1981 to 1992


He was known as a left-winger, and gained prominence for his attacks on Margaret Thatcher's handling of the Falklands War in 1982 add something


Eric Varley - He served as opposition spokesman on employment, and resisted an attempt by Michael Foot to replace him with Neil Kinnock in 1982


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 add something


However, the Conservative government's majority had come down from 144 in 1983 to 102 add something


After Labour's heavy election defeat in June 1983, the almost 70-year-old Michael Foot resigned as leader and from the outset it was expected that Kinnock would succeed him add something


Clive Jenkins - Following the Labour Party's heavy defeat in the 1983 election, Jenkins was instrumental in getting Neil Kinnock nominated to the leadership of the party


Robin Cook - He was campaign manager for Neil Kinnock's successful 1983 bid to become leader of the Labour Party, and was one of the key figures in the modernisation of the Labour Party under Kinnock


Denis Healey - He was retained in the shadow cabinet by Neil Kinnock, who succeeded Foot after the disastrous 1983 general election, when the Tories bolstered their majority and Labour suffered their worst general election result in decades


Harry Ewing, Baron Ewing of Kirkford - His seat was redraw again at the 1983 general election, and he was returned for the successor seat of Falkirk East, and he became a spokesman on trade and industry matters under Neil Kinnock


David Owen - Owen blamed the SDP's demise on the reforms which had been taking place in the Labour Party since the election of Neil Kinnock as leader in 1983


Conservative Party (UK) - Thatcher now faced, arguably, her most serious rival yet after the 1983 election, when Michael Foot resigned as Labour leader and was succeeded by Neil Kinnock


Tony Benn - In the period since Benn's defeat in Bristol, Michael Foot had stepped down after the general election in June 1983 and was succeeded in October of that year by Neil Kinnock


Labour Party (UK) - Michael Foot resigned and was replaced as leader by Neil Kinnock who was elected on 2 October 1983 and progressively moved the party towards the centre


In 1985 he made his criticisms public in a speech to Labour's conference: add something


The strike's defeat early in the year, and the bad publicity associated with the entryism practised by the Militant tendency were the immediate background for the 1985 Labour Party conference add something


This was directed by Hugh Hudson and featured Kinnock's 1985 conference speech, and shots of him and Glenys walking on the Great Orme in Llandudno , and a speech to that year's Welsh Labour Party conference asking why he was the "first Kinnock in a thousand generations" to go to university add something


Peter Mandelson - He worked as a television producer at London Weekend Television on "Weekend World" before Labour Party leader Neil Kinnock appointed him as Director of Communications in 1985, with a view to his overseeing Labour's campaign for the next general election, which was ultimately held in June 1987 and ended in a third successive win for Margaret Thatcher's Conservative government, although the Conservative majority was slightly reduced as Labour gained 20 seats


Roland Boyes - Nevertheless, he soon became a frontbench spokesman under Neil Kinnock, on environment from 1985 to 1988 and on defence from 1988 to 1992


Kay Andrews, Baroness Andrews - She became a policy adviser to Neil Kinnock in his office as Leader of the Opposition 1985-92


The Conservatives' 1986 conference was well-managed, and effectively relaunched the Conservatives as a party of radical free-market liberalism add something


As a result, Labour faced the 1987 election in some danger of coming third in the popular vote add something


In early 1987, Labour lost a by-election in Greenwich to the Social Democratic Party's Rosie Barnes add something


Joe Biden, who was at the time the Delaware Senator and presidential candidate, and later the US Vice-President, plagiarised lines from the speech for his own campaign speeches in the summer of 1987 add something


The Labour supporting "Daily Mirror" had backed Kinnock in the 1987 election and again in 1992 add something


This began with an exercise dubbed the policy review, the most high-profile aspect of which was a series of consultations with the public known as "Labour Listens" in the autumn of 1987 add something


A few months after the election, Kinnock gained brief attention in the United States in August 1987 when it was discovered that then-US senator Joe Biden of Delaware plagiarised one of Kinnock's speeches during his 1988 presidential campaign in a speech at a Democratic debate in Iowa add something


NME - In the week of the 1987 election, the paper featured an interview with the leader of the Labour Party, Neil Kinnock, who appeared on the paper's cover


Jack Dormand - Labour leader Neil Kinnock was expected to ask him to be government chief whip if Labour won the 1987 general election, but Dormand thought it right to retire at the age of 67


Denis Carter, Baron Carter - He was nominated as a Labour "working peer" by Neil Kinnock, and raised to a life peerage as "'Baron Carter"', of Devizes in the County of Wiltshire, on 23 March 1987


John Smith (Labour Party leader) - Smith was appointed Shadow Chancellor by Neil Kinnock in July 1987 after Party's general election defeat


Joe Biden - In September 1987, the campaign ran into trouble when he was accused of plagiarizing a speech that had been made by Neil Kinnock, leader of the British Labour Party.


Tony Benn - Benn stood for election as Party Leader in 1988, against Neil Kinnock, following Labour's third successive defeat in the 1987 general election, and lost by a substantial margin


Paul Flynn (politician) - Flynn joined the front bench under Neil Kinnock in 1988 when he became a spokesman on health and social security and for social security in 1989


Jimmy Dunnachie - He was appointed as an opposition Whip in 1988 and served until 1992, but opposed Neil Kinnock's move to drop Labour's commitment to unilateral nuclear disarmament


Eric Heffer - Neil Kinnock's decision to review the policy of the Labour Party after the election, which was a clear prelude to dropping some of the more left-wing policies, led him to urge the left in the Socialist Campaign Group to fight the Leadership and Deputy Leadership in 1988


Conservative Party (UK) - The summer of 1989 saw her fall behind Neil Kinnock's Labour in the opinion polls for the first time since 1986, and her party's fall in popularity continued into 1990


Since Major's election as Conservative leader , Kinnock had spent the end of 1990 and most of 1991 putting pressure on Major to hold the election that year, but Major had held out and insisted that there would be no general election in 1991 add something


He had gained this distinction in November 1990, and no subsequent opposition party leader has yet matched this record add something


Conservative Party (UK) - An election had to be held within the next 18 months and the UK economy was sliding into recession, but 1991 was a year of electoral uncertainty as the Conservatives and Labour regularly swapped places at the top of the opinion polls, and Major resisted Neil Kinnock's numerous calls for an immediate election


By now Militant had finally been routed in the party, and their two MPs were expelled at the end of 1991 add something


John Major - Labour Party and opposition leader Neil Kinnock made endless calls for a general election throughout 1991, but Major held out and decided not to call the election until he finally set an election date of 9 April 1992


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 to become a European Commissioner add something


In the three years leading up to the 1992 election, Labour had consistently topped the opinion polls, with 1991 seeing the Tories snatch the lead off Labour more than once before Labour regained it add something


Less expected was the "Financial Times" backing of Kinnock at the 1992 election add something


In the run-up to the election, held on 9 April 1992, most opinion polls had suggested that the election would end in a hung parliament or a narrow Labour majority add something


Daily Mirror - For the 1992 general election, the Daily Mirror continued to support Labour, still led by Neil Kinnock


Peter Bone - He contested the parliamentary seat of Islwyn in the South Wales industrial valleys at the 1992 general election against the Leader of the Opposition Neil Kinnock


Richard Attenborough - In 1992 he had been offered a Peerage by Neil Kinnock, head of the Labour Party, but refused it as he felt unable to commit to the time necessary "to do what was required of him in the Upper Chamber, as he always put film-making first"


Financial Times - It showed support with the Labour Party in the UK, starting with the 1992 general election, when Neil Kinnock was attempting for the second time to return Labour to government for the first time since they had been ousted from power in 1979


David Owen - During the April 1992 election campaign, Owen writing in The Mail on Sunday newspaper advised voters to vote Liberal Democrat where they had a chance of victory and to vote Conservative rather than let Neil Kinnock become Prime Minister


John Smith (Labour Party leader) - Following Labour's fourth successive defeat at the general election of April 1992, Neil Kinnock resigned as leader and Smith was elected Labour leader


Kinnock was appointed one of Britain's two members of the European Commission, which he served first as Transport Commissioner under President Jacques Santer, in early 1995; marking the end of his 25 years in parliament add something


He went on to become the Vice-President of the European Commission under Romano Prodi from 1999 to 2004 add something


Ken Livingstone - Recognising this, in 2000, the former Labour Party leader Neil Kinnock asserted that Livingstone could only be defined as a "Kennist"


During this second term of office on the Commission, he was responsible for introducing new staff regulations for EU officials, a significant feature of which was substantial salary cuts for everyone employed after 1 May 2004, reduced pension prospects for many others, and gradually worsening employment conditions add something


His term of office as a Commissioner was due to expire on 30 October 2004, but was delayed owing to the withdrawal of the new Commissioners add something


In February 2004, it was announced that with effect from 1 November 2004 Kinnock would become head of the British Council add something


He was introduced to the House of Lords on 31 January 2005, after being created, on 28 January, "'Baron Kinnock"', of Bedwellty in the County of Gwent add something


On 26 April 2006, Neil Kinnock was given a six-month driving ban after being found guilty of two speeding offences along the M4 motorway, west of London add something


Previously living together in Peterston-Super-Ely, a village near the western outskirts of Cardiff, in 2008 they moved to Tufnell Park, London, to be closer to their daughter and grandchildren add something


He is married to Glenys Kinnock, Britain's Minister for Africa and the United Nations from 2009 to 2010, and a Labour Member of the European Parliament from 1994 to 2009 add something


Until the summer of 2009, he was the Chairman of the British Council and the President of Cardiff University add something


When she was made a life peer in 2009, they became one of the few couples to both hold titles in their own right add something


He was an enthusiastic supporter of Ed Miliband's campaign to lead the Labour Party in 2010, and was reported as telling activists, when Ed Miliband won, "We've got our party back" add something


The following day's headline in "The Sun" was the triumphalist 'It's The Sun Wot Won It', which Rupert Murdoch, many years later at his April 2012 appearance before the Leveson Inquiry, stated was both "tasteless and wrong" and led to the editor Kelvin MacKenzie receiving a reprimand add something


Steve Richards - In 2018, he presented another series of unscripted episodes for BBC Parliament, entitled "Reflections: The Prime Ministers We Never Had", which profiled Rab Butler, Denis Healey, Tony Benn, Roy Jenkins, Neil Kinnock, Michael Heseltine, Kenneth Clarke, Michael Portillo, and David Miliband and Ed Miliband