Dame Glenis Willmott
Glenis Willmott.jpg
Leader of the Labour Party
in the European Parliament
In office
18 January 2009 – 3 October 2017
DeputyRichard Corbett
LeaderGordon Brown
Ed Miliband
Jeremy Corbyn
Preceded byGary Titley
Succeeded byRichard Corbett
Member of the European Parliament
for the East Midlands
In office
1 January 2006 – 3 October 2017
Preceded byPhillip Whitehead
Succeeded byRory Palmer
Personal details
Glenis Scott

(1951-03-04) 4 March 1951 (age 71)
Horden, County Durham, England
Political partyLabour
Alma materTrent Polytechnic
ProfessionMedical scientist

Dame Glenis Willmott, DBE (née Scott; born 4 March 1951) is a retired British Labour Party politician who served as leader of the European Parliamentary Labour Party (EPLP) and Member of the European Parliament for the East Midlands.

Early life and career

Willmott was born in the mining village of Horden, County Durham, but moved to Mansfield with her family at the age of 10. She was educated in Mansfield and at Trent Polytechnic where she obtained an HNC in medical science. She worked as a medical scientist for the National Health Service at King's Mill and Mansfield Hospitals from 1969 to 1990.[1]

She was chair of Mansfield Constituency Labour Party and a member of Nottinghamshire County Council for the Leeming and Forest Town division from 1989 to 1993.[2] She also worked as an assistant to Alan Meale (Member of Parliament for Mansfield) from 1987 to 1990.[1]

In 1990, she became political officer for the GMB trade union's Midland and East Coast region. She served as chair of the East Midlands Regional Labour Party and was second on the Labour Party list of candidates for the East Midlands region at the 2004 elections to the European Parliament.[1] Willmott is a member of the Labour Friends of Israel and has served as vice-chair.[3]

Member of the European Parliament

On 1 January 2006, she replaced Phillip Whitehead as a member of the European Parliament for the East Midlands following his death.[4] Along with other Labour MEPs, she was part of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats Group in the European Parliament.

In July 2006, she was elected to the position of Chief Whip of the Labour MEPs, a position she held until January 2009, when she was elected as the Leader of the European Parliamentary Labour Party (EPLP), replacing Gary Titley who had resigned the post.[5][6] She was the longest serving leader of the EPLP, surpassing Barbara Castle and Gary Titley.

In September 2014, she was appointed rapporteur for changes to medical devices legislation primarily triggered by scandals involving PIP breast implants and 'metal-on-metal' hip replacements.[7] In October 2014, Willmott received the Outstanding Leadership Award from the Belgian Association of Clinical Research Professionals for her work on clinical trials legislation.[8] She also hosted an S&D event at the Espace Léopold focused on improved labelling of alcoholic drinks.[9][10]

Membership of Committees and Delegations

Following the 2014 election, Willmott sat (or was a substitute) on the following Committees and Delegations:[6]

2014 election campaign

In May 2014, Willmott launched her East Midlands campaign for the 2014 European Parliament election in Derby "promising to help people struggling with the cost of living".[11] She said the Conservatives wanted to help energy companies and bankers. "Nearly 340,000 East Midland jobs depended on continued membership but the Tories hadn't said what aspects of EU membership they wanted to renegotiate or when they would do it. An EU referendum would just be a distraction when Britain was trying to improve its economy". She also claimed UKIP's stated objective of "cutting red tape" were really about "cutting people's rights at work".[11] In the East Midlands where five seats were contested, Labour retained Willmott's seat and increased their share of the vote by 8%, narrowly missing out on gaining a second seat in the region.[12]

2016 EU referendum

Although she opposed David Cameron's decision to call the referendum on the UK's membership of the EU, Willmott played a prominent role in Labour In for Britain, Labour's campaign for Britain to remain in the EU. She was critical of Cameron's proposed reforms to the EU, including changes to legislation on workers' rights, product standards and environmental protections.[13] She argued that the five key arguments for remaining a member of the EU were on job protection and creation, employment rights, protections for consumers, cross-border security and increased influence on the world stage.[14]

Following the UK's vote to leave the EU, Willmott has argued that if the deal reached during the Brexit negotiations leads to extensive deregulation and weakening of social and workers' rights, then Labour should oppose it.[15] In the aftermath of the referendum result, she wrote a letter on behalf of the EPLP to Jeremy Corbyn calling for his resignation as Labour leader after a party briefing document appeared to promote the work of Kate Hoey and Gisela Stuart, two key MPs in the rival Labour Leave campaign.[16]


Willmott announced in July 2017 that she would stand down in October and was formally replaced as MEP for the East Midlands by Leicester city councillor Rory Palmer on 3 October.[17][18] She was replaced as Leader of the EPLP by her colleague Richard Corbett.[19] She was honoured with a 'thank you' dinner on 4 November 2017 which celebrated her career and contribution to the Labour Party and European politics; the dinner was attended by Jeremy Corbyn, the Leader of the Labour Party as well as former leader Ed Miliband.[20]

Personal life

Willmott lives in Leicestershire with her husband Ted.[1] She was appointed a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in the 2015 Dissolution Honours on 27 August 2015.[21]


  1. ^ a b c d "About me". Glenis Willmott MEP. Archived from the original on 31 December 2013. Retrieved 12 June 2014.
  2. ^ "1989 election results: Leeming and Forest Town". Nottinghamshire County Council. Retrieved 19 September 2014.
  3. ^ "Where Do They Stand?" (PDF). PSC. Retrieved 10 April 2018.
  4. ^ "GLENIS WILLMOTT NAMED AS NEW LABOUR MEP". European Report. 11 January 2006. Archived from the original on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 1 December 2014 – via HighBeam Research.
  5. ^ "Member of the European Parliament:Glenis Willmott". CENTRAL VILLAGES LABOUR PARTY. Archived from the original on 8 February 2015. Retrieved 1 December 2014.
  6. ^ a b "MEP Profiles: Glenis Willmott". European Parliament. Retrieved 9 July 2014.
  7. ^ "Medical devices rapporteur". Glenis Willmott MEP. Archived from the original on 15 July 2015. Retrieved 17 September 2014.
  8. ^ "Outstanding Leadership Award". Belgian Association of Clinical Research Professionals. Archived from the original on 20 September 2014. Retrieved 29 August 2014.
  9. ^ "Event explores European Commission decision to exempt alcohol from EU labelling legislation". Institute of Alcohol Studies. 10 September 2014. Retrieved 1 December 2014.
  10. ^ "Better alcohol labelling event". Glenis Willmott MEP. Archived from the original on 15 February 2015. Retrieved 19 September 2014.
  11. ^ a b Dan Martin (7 May 2014). "Labour launches East Midlands European election campaign in Leicester". Leicester Mercury. Archived from the original on 9 May 2014. Retrieved 9 May 2014.
  12. ^ "East Midlands European election results, 2014". BBC News. Retrieved 30 May 2014.
  13. ^ Glenis Willmott (22 January 2016), "When it comes down to it, this referendum is going to be about working people", LabourList, retrieved 9 November 2017
  14. ^ Glenis Willmott (23 February 2016), "Five key facts to win the argument on the EU", LabourList, retrieved 9 November 2017
  15. ^ "If the Tory Brexit deal with the EU is not right, we must fight it", Labour Press, 26 September 2016, retrieved 9 November 2017
  16. ^ George Eaton (29 June 2016). "Labour MEPs call for Jeremy Corbyn to resign as leader". New Statesman. Retrieved 9 November 2017.
  17. ^ Ciaran Fagan (5 July 2017). "Leicester Deputy Mayor Rory Palmer to become an MEP". Leicester Mercury. Retrieved 6 July 2017.
  18. ^ Dan Martin (2 October 2017). "Leicester's deputy mayor Rory Palmer leaves city council and becomes an MEP". Leicester Mercury. Retrieved 9 November 2017.
  19. ^ Peter Edwards (25 October 2017). "Richard Corbett named Labour's new leader in Brussels and takes NEC place". LabourList. Retrieved 9 November 2017.
  20. ^ Dan Martin (13 October 2017). "Jeremy Corbyn and Ed Miliband are coming to Leicester for a 'fun-filled' party". Leicester Mercury. Retrieved 9 November 2017.
  21. ^ Prime Minister's Office (27 August 2015). "Dissolution Honours 2015". Gov.uk. Retrieved 30 August 2015.
Party political offices Preceded byGary Titley Leader of the European Parliamentary Labour Party 2009–2017 Succeeded byRichard Corbett Preceded byMichael Cashman European Parliamentary representative on the National Executive Committee of the Labour Party 2012 – 2017 Succeeded byRichard Corbett Preceded byPaddy Lillis Chair of the Labour Party 2016 – 2017 Succeeded byAndy Kerr