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West Midlands Liberal Democrat European Election Launch

May 11, 2004 11:00 AM

West Midlands Liberal Democrat LaunchWest Midlands Liberal Democrats are today launching their European Election Campaign with a whistle-stop tour of the region. The campaign will highlight Liz Lynne's record as an MEP and a promise of more to come.

The candidates will be visiting Birmingham, Telford, Malvern and Coventry to tell the electorate what has been achieved in the European Parliament and what can be achieved with more Liberal Democrats elected.

Number one on the Liberal Democrats West Midlands list Liz Lynne has been an MEP for the last 5 years. Commenting ahead of the launch she said:

"We will be launching a campaign telling people about what the Liberal Democrats have achieved in the European Parliament over the last 5 years and what we want to do in the next five.

"Everywhere I go people ask me what the European Parliament has done for them. I answer their queries by highlighting how I made sure age stayed in the employment directive, which means from 2006 it will be illegal for people in the workplace to be discriminated against on the grounds of age.

"I have made EU legislation more practical by ensuring that industry would not be harmed by directives on the acceptable levels of vibrations and noise while still protecting the workforce.

"I also made sure that the vibrations directive took more account of the needs of the agricultural sector by extending the amount of time a tractor could be driven from 2-4 to 7-8 hours a day and the noise directive recognised the special characteristics of the leisure and entertainment industry.

"We see the European Union for what it is: a way of tackling shared problems, upholding shared values, settling disputes between traditionally fractious neighbours and applying the rule of law to agreements that have been entered into.

"Despite all the positive aspects of the European Union we accept it is not perfect but then neither is Westminster. Liberal Democrats will continue to argue for reform from within. Indeed over the last 5 years it has been the Liberal Democrats who have insisted on reforms to the European Institutions and will continue to argue against the travelling circus, which sees the Parliament moving to Strasbourg once a month."

Birmingham Councillor Paul Tilsley who is second on the Liberal Democrats European List said:

"I have been involved in the distribution of the £900million of EU money allocated to the West Midlands and have seen the difference it has made to the region. We must not put that money at risk.

"The Liberal Democrat are the only party committed to making Europe work for the people of the West Midlands. We want a Europe where decisions are taken at the lowest possible level. Leaving Europe to have influence only over decisions that cannot be taken at Local or National level."

Staffordshire Councillor Phil Bennion No.3 on the Euro list added:

"As a farmer who has represented the NFU in Brussels I know that further reforms to the Common Agricultural Policy will be necessary. We are also committed to attacking the waste and inefficiency, making the EU more democratic and continuing to tackle environmental problems."


Notes To Editors

West Midlands Liberal Democrats Candidates List

1.Liz Lynne

Liz Lynne has been MEP for the West Midlands since 1999, and before that was a Westminster MP. She is particularly interested in employment legislation and social affairs, and is ELDR Group spokesperson on Health & Safety issues. She was rapporteur of the European Year of People with Disabilities 2003, and drafted the Parliament's report supporting a UN Convention on Disabled People's Rights earlier that year.

As MEP she has helped make it illegal to discriminate at work on the basis of age, made EU legislation more practical, campaigned against airport expansion in the West Midlands as well as campaigning against the French ban on British beef, which hit farmers in the West Midlands particularly hard. She hit the headlines when she carried Herefordshire beef through French Customs at Strasbourg Airport.

2. Paul Tilsley

Paul Tilsley has represented Birmingham at various levels since first being elected a councillor in 1968. He became the first Liberal/Lib Dem Lord Mayor of Birmingham for 70 years in 1993. Paul is married with three children. As well as his work as a councillor in Birmingham Yardley he also is a Board Member for Advantage West Midlands and a Member of the European funds Programme Monitoring Committee for the West Midlands.

3.Phil Bennion

Phil is a farmer and also a Coucillor in Staffordshire. He has a strong campaigning track record having won his District and County Council seats from the Tories with swings of over 20%. He doubled the Libdem vote in Lichfield in the 1997 General Election and was also on the Euro List in the West Midlands in 1999. He is very knowledgeable on argricultural issues especially CAP Reform, indeed he has lobbied politicians and civil servants in Brussels and Westminster on behalf of the NFU.

4.Martin Turner

Aged 36, Martin turner is Head of Communications for Walsall Primary Care Trust. He has previously worked as European Communications Manager for Lucas Automotive (TRW), Executive Officer for West Midlands Arts and Communcations Coordinator for Operation Mobilisation in Belguim. He studied at Oxford University and currently lives in Birmingham with his wife Marjolein. He is also chair of Liberal Democrat Christian Forum.

5.Nicola Davies

Nicola Davies lives in Warwick and is Local Government Affairs Manager for the telecommunications industry. Born in Shropshire she has lived in Staffordshire and Birmingham. She is a former parliamentary research at Westminster and A-level politics and philosophy teacher.

6.Lorely Burt

After working in the Prison Service and in personnel management Lorely Burt created her own award-winning training company which became the market leader in the field of licensed retail training. Recently Lorely has added to her own professional development by becoming a Master of Business Administration. She currently runs a small marketing company and consultancy. She is married to Councillor Richard Burt and has a daughter, Emma and a step-son, James.

7.Mike Dixon

Mike is 47 years old. Originating from Nottingham, after finishing Art

College he moved extensively around Britain with work commitments and finally settled in Kidderminster with his family nearly 20 years ago, Mike has a varied background in Sales, Training, Catering and Manufacturing Management. But now works full time in politics as both Liaison Officer for an MEP and Constituency Organiser. His main areas of interest are in Policing and Crime, Mike being jointly responsible for writing Lib Dem Policy on the subject. Mike also has a keen interest in Defence and Foreign Affairs.