Graham Watson M.E.P speaks to Industrialists – 10th December 2010

Graham Watson MEP- Liberal Democrat Member of the European Parliament for South West England and Gibraltar & President John Vieth

Graham Watson was  given a warm welcom and provided a fascinating insite into the role of an MEP. 

Graham Watson was born in Rothesay, Scotland, in March 1956, the son of a Royal Naval Officer and a teacher.  He was educated at The City of Bath Boys’ School and at Heriot Watt University, Edinburgh, where he gained an honours degree in Modern Languages.  He is a qualified interpreter who speaks four European languages.

From 1983 to 1987 he served as Head of the Private Office of the Rt.Hon. Sir David Steel MP, then Leader of the Liberal Party.  He had previously been active as General Secretary of the Liberal International’s youth movement, and was a founder of the European Communities’ Youth Forum.

Immediately before entering parliament Graham Watson worked for the Hong Kong & Shanghai Banking Corporation in their London and Hong Kong offices.  His six years with HSBC encompassed a three-month stint with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.  He maintains an active interest in the Far East and is an Adviser to the Asia Pacific Public Affairs Forum.

Graham Watson was the first British Liberal Democrat ever to be elected to the European Parliament, winning the Somerset & North Devon constituency with a majority of over 22,500.  In June 1999 Graham was elected to represent the new enlarged South West of England constituency, which covers Bristol, Gloucestershire, Somerset, Dorset, Wiltshire, Devon and Cornwall.  

From 1994 to 1999, Graham was a member of the Committee for Economic & Monetary Affairs and Industrial Policy and the Budgets Committee.  From July 1999 to 2002 he served as Chairman of the Committee on Citizens’ Freedoms and Rights, Justice and Home Affairs. 

On 15 January 2002 Graham Watson was elected as Leader of the 53 strong group of Liberal Democrat members of the European Parliament.

Graham’s publications include ‘To the Power of Ten: UK Liberal Democrats in the European Parliament’ (2000) and ‘2020 Vision: Liberalisation and Globalisation’ (2001).

His hobbies and leisure interests include sailing and listening to jazz music.  Graham lives with his wife and two young children (daughter born 1992 and son born 1995) in the small market town of Langport, Somerset.