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Neil Gordon Kinnock

Kinnock, Neil Gordon (kĭnˈək) [key], 1942–, British politician, b. Tredegar, Wales. The son of a miner, he studied at University College, Cardiff. In 1970 he was elected to Parliament as a Labour party member. After Labour's defeat in the 1979 elections, he became party education spokesperson. He became party leader after Labour's overwhelming defeat in the 1983 elections. A gifted orator, Kinnock persuaded the party to abandon some of its traditional left-wing positions, such as unilateral disarmament and widespread nationalization, and adopt more moderate policies. In 1992, the Conservatives again defeated Labour in a national election in which the electorate's questioning of Kinnock's ability to lead the nation was a major factor. After this loss, he resigned the party leadership. He remained in Parliament until 1995, when he was appointed to the European Union's European Commission; he served as its vice president from 1999 to 2004. He was created Baron Kinnock of Bedwellty in 2005.

See R. Harris, The Making of Neil Kinnock (1984).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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