Phil Bennion MEP takes up seat in European Parliament

Phil Bennion has been officially confirmed as the new Lib Dem MEP for the West Midlands region at the European Parliament’s plenary session in Strasbourg this week.

The Staffordshire farmer and economic policy expert takes over from Liz Lynne who stood down from Parliament earlier in February after more than 12 years due to the extensive travelling required in the job. He was elected to second place on the Lib Dem list of candidates at the last European elections in 2009.

Phillip Bennion said of his new role,

I am determined to fight for the vital interests of the whole of the West Midlands region in the European Union and for a more prosperous and democratic Europe. From the shire counties to the manufacturing heart of the nation in Birmingham, this region’s economic and environmental future will be shaped by our relationship with the EU.

Literally hundreds of thousands of local jobs depend on it, so I will do my best to make sure we punch our weight in the corridors of power, whether in Brussels or London.

I have always been pro-European. I am a strong supporter of a more liberal and democratic EU that concentrates on what it should be doing as simply and efficiently as possible. We are stronger together and would be much poorer apart.

In our inter-connected world, the financial crisis in all western nations shows that we cannot bury our heads in the sand. If we listen to the siren sceptic voices we will be sleepwalking to disaster.

Every European country is vulnerable to economic and environmental challenges which individual governments cannot control. Britain cannot tackle these challenges alone but must forge strong alliances with our neighbours. We have to be a strong voice for reform with a seat at the top table.

I will use my experience as a farmer and independent businessman to work for EU rules that enable European businesses to take on the competition from Brazil, Russia, India and China (the BRICS) and other developing nations. Pointless red tape has to go and pro-active action taken to stimulate investment, trade and new jobs.

I am committed to doing all that I can to further food, energy and material security in the long term in a way that conserves biodiversity and addresses climate change.

Liz Lynne did a tremendous job as our MEP. Following her is a huge challenge but I am looking forward to getting to work.

Fiona Hall MEP, Leader of the Liberal Democrat delegation in the European Parliament, said:

Phillip Bennion has been a very active Lib Dem member and campaigner in the West Midlands over many years. He not only knows the region very well, but also has first hand experience of working at a European level through his involvement with the European Liberal Democrat Party (ELDR) and as chair of the Liberal Democrat European Group (LDEG).

With his background as a councillor, farmer and businessman, I am sure that he will be a valuable addition to the Liberal Democrat team in the European Parliament and we are looking forward to working with him.

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5 Comments

  • Best of luck Phil

  • Ed Maxfield 15th Feb '12 - 8:37pm

    Phil will do a great job for the region and for the Lib Dems.

  • Jonathan Webber 16th Feb '12 - 10:17am

    The West Midlands is really very pleased indeed for Phil – and grateful to his predecessor, Liz Lynne, for all her work on behalf of the region.

    The region is holding a ‘Europe Dinner’ on 24th February at Edgbaston Cricket Ground to express our thanks to Liz and to welcome Phil. Jonathan Scheele, Head of the European Commission Delegation to the UK is our keynote speaker along with Tom McNally.

    We’ve got a really good turnout – but it anyone is interested in joining us please get in touch.

  • Best wishes Phil.
    Don’t forget the West Midlands is next to the Wales region of Europe and our railway station for Knighton, Powys, is actually in Shropshire. Liz Lynne managed to find us here and helped promote my campaign for the accessible, disabled railway station which we now have.
    Who was it who said, ‘We’re all in this together’?
    Ken Harris

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