50 Facts About Neil Kinnock


Neil Gordon Kinnock, Baron Kinnock was born on 28 March 1942 and is a British former politician who served as Leader of the Opposition and Leader of the Labour Party from 1983 to 1992.


Neil Kinnock served as a Member of Parliament from 1970 until 1995, first for Bedwellty and then for Islwyn.


Neil Kinnock was Vice-President of the European Commission from 1999 to 2004.


Neil Kinnock became the Labour Party's shadow education minister after the Conservatives won power in the 1979 general election.


Neil Kinnock led the party during most of the Thatcher administration, which included its third successive election defeat when Thatcher won the 1987 general election.


Neil Kinnock led the Labour Party to a surprise fourth consecutive defeat at the 1992 general election, despite the party being ahead of John Major's Conservative government in most opinion polls, which had predicted either a narrow Labour victory or a hung parliament.


Neil Kinnock left the House of Commons in 1995 to become a European Commissioner.

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Neil Kinnock's father, Gordon Herbert Kinnock was a former coal miner who later worked as a labourer; and his mother Mary Kinnock was a district nurse.


In 1953, at eleven years old, Neil Kinnock began his secondary education at Lewis School, Pengam, which he later criticised for its record on caning.


Neil Kinnock went on to the University College of South Wales and Monmouthshire in Cardiff, where he graduated in 1965 with a degree in Industrial Relations and History.


Neil Kinnock has been married to Glenys Kinnock since 1967.


Neil Kinnock was first elected to the House of Commons on 18 June 1970, and became a member of the National Executive Committee of the Labour Party in October 1978.


Neil Kinnock's ambition was noted by other MPs, and David Owen's opposition to the changes to the electoral college was thought to be motivated by the realisation that they would favour Kinnock's succession.


Neil Kinnock remained as education spokesman following the resignation of Callaghan as Leader of the Labour Party and the election of Michael Foot as his successor in late 1980.


In 1981, while still serving as Labour's education spokesman, Neil 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 then urging Silkin supporters to abstain on the second, run-off, ballot.


Neil Kinnock was known as a left-winger, and gained prominence for his attacks on Margaret Thatcher's handling of the Falklands War in 1982, although it was in fact this conflict which saw support for the Conservative government increase, and contribute to its landslide re-election the following year.


Neil Kinnock was determined to move the party's political standing to a centrist position, in order to improve its chances of winning a future general election.


Neil Kinnock focused on modernising the party, and upgrading its technical skills such as use of the media and keeping track of voters, while at the same time battling the Militants.


Neil Kinnock stressed economic growth, which had a much broader appeal to the middle-class than the idea of redistributing wealth to benefit the poor.


Neil Kinnock accepted membership in the European Economic Community, whereas the party had pledged immediate withdrawal from it under Michael Foot.


Neil Kinnock was almost immediately in serious difficulty as a result of Arthur Scargill's decision to lead his union, the National Union of Mineworkers into a national strike without a nationwide ballot.


Neil Kinnock attacked Militant and their conduct in a speech delivered at the conference:.


The second period of Neil Kinnock's leadership was dominated by his drive to reform the party's policies to gain office.


In 1988, Neil Kinnock was challenged by Tony Benn for the party leadership.


Neil Kinnock greeted Thatcher's resignation by describing it as "very good news" and demanded an immediate general election.

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Neil Kinnock's showing in the opinion polls dipped; before Thatcher's resignation, Labour had been up to 10 points ahead of the Conservatives in the opinion polls, but many opinion polls were actually showing the Conservatives with a higher amount of support than Labour, in spite of the deepening recession.


Since Major's election as Leader of the Conservative Party, Neil Kinnock had spent the end of 1990 and most of 1991 putting pressure on Major to call a general election that year, but Major had held out and by the autumn he had insisted that there would be no general election in 1991.


Neil Kinnock further argues that this explanation is "a red herring" and that the same result would have happened without the rally.


Neil Kinnock announced his resignation as Leader of the Labour Party on 13 April 1992, ending nearly a decade in the role.


Neil Kinnock remains on the Advisory Council of the Institute for Public Policy Research, which he helped set up in the 1980s.


Labour received their lowest seat tally under Miliband since the 1987 general election; when Neil Kinnock was leader at that time.


Neil Kinnock was appointed one of the UK'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 the House of Commons.


Neil Kinnock was obliged to resign as part of the forced, collective resignation of the Commission in 1999.


Neil Kinnock was re-appointed to the Commission under new President Romano Prodi.


Neil Kinnock now became one of the Vice-Presidents of the European Commission, with responsibility for Administrative Reform and the Audit, Linguistics and Logistics Directorates General.


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


Neil Kinnock had dismissed going to the Lords in recent interviews.


Neil Kinnock explained his change of attitude, despite the continuing presence of ninety hereditary peers and appointment by patronage, by asserting that the Lords was a good base for campaigning.


Neil Kinnock 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.


Neil Kinnock's peerage meant that the Labour and Conservative parties were equal in numbers in the upper house of Parliament.


Neil Kinnock was a long-time critic of the House of Lords, and his acceptance of a peerage led him to be accused of hypocrisy, by Will Self, among others.


Neil Kinnock later clarified that he supports devolution in principle, but found the proposed settlement at the time as failing to address the economic disparities in the UK, particularly following the closure of coal mines in Wales.


Neil Kinnock has often referred to himself as a "unionist" and has stated that "between the mid-sixteenth century and the mid-eighteenth century Wales had practically no history at all, and even before that it was the history of rural brigands who have been ennobled by being called princes".


Neil Kinnock met Glenys Neil Kinnock in the early 1960s whilst studying at University College, Cardiff, where they were known as "the power and the glory", and they married on 25 March 1967.


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.

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Lord Neil Kinnock is a Cardiff City FC fan and regularly attends matches.


Neil Kinnock is a follower of rugby union and supports London Welsh RFC at club level, regularly attending Wales games.


Neil Kinnock was portrayed by both Chris Barrie and Steve Coogan in the satirical TV programme Spitting Image, and by Euan Cuthbertson in the Scottish film In Search of La Che.


In 2014, Lord Neil Kinnock was painted by artist Edward Sutcliffe.


Neil Kinnock has been described as an agnostic and an atheist.