Robert Evans

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Robert Evans.jpg
Born23 October 1956
Ashford, Surrey
Alma materUniversity of London
Member ofTrilateral Commission
PartyLabour Co-op

Robert John Emlyn Evans is a former Labour and Co-operative Party Member of the European Parliament (MEP) representing London from 1994 until he stood down as an MEP in 2009.

In May 2013, Robert Evans was elected Labour County Councillor for Stanwell and Stanwell Moor in Surrey.[1] On 9 January 2021, when Veena Siva and Jenny Vinson – Labour Councillors on Spelthorne Borough Council – were reported to have resigned from the Labour Party in protest over the leadership of Sir Keir Starmer, Robert Evans said the first he knew of the resignations was when he saw it on social media:

“I was working closely with Veena, speaking to her very recently, helping with a motion on the fire service for Spelthorne Council. I’m surprised she said nothing about this to me.”[2]


Robert Evans was educated at Ashford County Grammar School before gaining a BEd and MA from the Institute of Education, University of London. He became a teacher and was Headmaster of a Junior School in Hounslow by the time of his election to the European Parliament in 1994.

He was awarded an honorary doctorate by Brunel University in 1998.[3]

Political Career

European Parliament

Robert Evans was originally elected to the European Parliament for London North West in 1994, having previously stood unsuccessfully in 1989. He sat with the Party of European Socialists and was on the European Parliament's Committee on Transport and Tourism. His main achievement was to create a new Europe-wide law to outlaw discrimination against disabled passengers when travelling by air.[4] He was a substitute member for the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs, Chair of the Delegation for relations with the countries of South Asia and was also closely involved with Romania and Moldova. From 1999–2004 he was Vice-Chairman of the Committee on Citizens' Freedoms and Rights, Justice and Home Affairs. From 2004 to 2007 Robert Evans was Chairman of the European Parliamentary Labour Party.

Robert Evans was an election observer for the European Parliament, and was Chair of the mission to observe the Pakistan elections in 2008[5] and EU Chief Observer to Cambodia in 2003.

Robert Evans announced in November 2008 that he would not be seeking re-election to the European Parliament in 2009.[6]

English Politics

In a September 2003 by-election, Robert Evans was selected with help from The Campaign Company to stand in what was considered the safe Labour seat of Brent East.[7] However, the Labour vote collapsed – largely due to the 2003 Iraq War – and the Lib Dems were elected:

Labour had fought a highly-organised campaign, with the slick Mr Evans, the MEP for the area, working 12-hour days for two months and more than 200 MPs trudging the streets from Kilburn to Kenton.

Half the shadow cabinet went canvassing; a six-minute video was sent to 5,000 voters; and Ken Livingstone, the London mayor and former Brent East MP, offering a strong endorsement, telling voters the day before polling: "I'd trust this man with my life."

But the Liberal Democrats pulled it off, thanks to the strategising of Lord Rennard, who two weeks ago became the party's chief executive.

An appointed peer who has spent nearly 25 years running Liberal byelections, he has galvanised activists, telling all 400 who turned up on polling day they each needed to secure 20 votes to achieve victory. Sarah Teather polled 8,158 votes - 158 over.[8]

From 2009, he became an independent consultant and freelance adviser to various MPs, to CAMS College in Hayes,[9] and, with his special expertise in Bangladesh, to the charities BRAC and London Tigers.[10]

In November 2012 he stood as Labour candidate for Police and Crime Commissioner in Surrey.

On 2 May 2013, Robert Evans was elected Surrey County Councillor for Stanwell and Stanwell Moor, and is now the sole Labour councillor on Surrey County Council.[11]

2014 Floods

In response to controversial comments by Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, blaming the Environment Agency for the flooding in Somerset,[12] Robert Evans tweeted on 11 February 2014:

Unprecedented apology on behalf of @SurreyCouncil for actions and words of Eric Pickles SoS for @CommunitiesUK from #Tory Cllr John Furey.[13]

Charities and Sports

Robert Evans is a Vice President of the League Against Cruel Sports,[14] a trustee of BRAC-UK,[15] a Life Member of Ashford Cricket Club,[16] and a long-standing member of Ashford Middlesex Hockey Club.[17]

BBC Question Time

On 25 February 1988, Robert Evans spoke on BBC "Question Time" about a comment made earlier that week by retired Master of the Rolls, Alfred Denning: "That it is more important to retain public confidence in the legal and judicial system than it is for innocent people to remain in prison: how do the panel react?"

Michael Portillo was the first to respond saying the system in place whereby the Home Secretary can refer cases such as the Birmingham Six back for appeal does retain public confidence.

Russell Johnston MP inferred from what Lord Denning had said that the Northern Ireland appeal system was being considered for introduction into England.

Shirley Goodwin of the Health Visitors Association said Lord Denning's comments were appalling.

Michael Meacher called the comment an appalling 'Denningism' and described it as a 'false antithesis'. Meacher said:

"I have the deepest scepticism about the Appeal Court's decision on the Birmingham Six."

Chairman Sir Robin Day interjected saying that Birmingham Six case is now likely to go to the House of Lords, the Supreme Court, and reverted to the questioner, Robert Evans, who commented:

"I certainly agree with Michael Meacher on that last point there. It's appalling that Lord Denning should suggest that any people who query why they're in prison should have their pieces of paper or letters they have written thrown into the bin, which is what he said. But what I think comes through bright and clear is that it's about time that the press and the media stopped asking Lord Denning for his opinion, and that he stopped giving his opinion."[18]

See also


External links

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