London MEP Syed Kamall has today been elected by the ECR Group as its leader.
Speaking after his election, he said:
“I am proud to lead the ECR Group – one of the EU’s fastest growing political families.
“I pay tribute to outgoing chairman Martin Callanan. Martin has been a strong supporter of the cause of European reform and eurorealism, and he his hard work is a major part of the reason why the ECR is now growing and attracting new Member parties.
“The ECR Group has done well from these elections. When we were formed five years ago we were dismissed, but we have worked hard to gain a strong foothold here in Brussels and in Strasbourg. The agenda of EU reform is firmly established and we have delivered some significant successes in areas like the budget, fisheries and the flexibility within EU Banking Union. Now I want to build on those successes and see the ECR playing an active, pivotal and constructive role in the parliament to deliver our agenda of a more decentralised and flexible EU that focuses its efforts on economic reform, opening markets and providing opportunities for business and entrepreneurs.
“I look forward to working within our group and across the parliament to build a solid base to further reforms in the coming months and years ahead. We will work with all those people who believe change for the better is possible in the EU.”
Syed Kamall in his own words:
“I was born, grew up and live in London. My father came to Britain in the 1950s to work on the railways and as a bus driver. My parents taught me that if you work hard and believe in yourself, there is no limit to what you can achieve. I am proud that after losing 5 elections, I picked myself up, dusted myself off each time and ran for office again until I became a MEP for London in 2005. I am also proud to have been elected by my Conservative MEP colleagues as Leader of the Conservative MEPs in 2013, but I have many more personal and political goals to achieve in my career. One of those is to inspire young people from all, but especially poorer, backgrounds to make the best of themselves. I speak at schools, colleges and youth clubs trying to instil the spirit of ambition into young people and explaining to them that whatever their race, religion or family background they can achieve their goals. People who work hard to better themselves should be able to reap the rewards of that effort.”
Dr Kamall is co-Chairman of the European Parliament’s Friends of Sports Cross Party group, and he is involved in supporting a number of charities, such as MyBnk which go directly into schools to help teachers educate their students on personal financial matters. He is also a member of the advisory board of the UK Centre for Social Justice, where he works to identify community based projects at the forefront of tackling poverty and community problems. He works with the charity Cleensheet which seeks to give offenders a second chance to find a job when they are released from prison, and he is a strong proponent of microfinance and crowd funded loans such as Kiva as a solution to poverty. He also supports smaller charities as a patron, along with the BBC’s John Humphreys, of the Kitchen Table Charities Trust which makes grants to small charities doing vital work in poorer countries.
As an academic and a Visiting Fellow at Leeds University Business School he used to lecture MBA students in international business strategy, foreign investment and international trade, His experience has previously been put to use as a member of the Economic and Monetary Affairs committee, and the International Trade Committee.