|Member of the European Parliament
15 July 1999
|Preceded by||Position established|
|Born||October 22, 1965|
|Alma mater||University of Dundee
Birkbeck, University of London
Claude Ajit Moraes is a British Labour Party politician who has been a Member of the European Parliament for London since 1999. He is Chair of the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee and Deputy Leader of the Labour Party in the European Parliament.
Claude Moraes is of Indian origin.He grew up in Scotland, having moved to Dundee with his parents at the age of three from India.His father and mother are Hindi speaking Catholics from Karnataka (Mangalore) and Mumbai respectively.
He studied Scots and English Law, Government, and International Law at the Universities of Dundee, London (Birkbeck College) and the London School of Economics and Political Science(LSE).
After his law degree Claude Moraes settled in East London, Toynbee Hall, where he was later briefly a Trustee and became House of Commons researcher to MPs John Reid and Paul Boateng following the 1987 General Election. He combined this with postgraduate studies in government and international law at Birkbeck College and the LSE. He then became a national officer at the TUC at Congress House and a representative to the ETUC in Brussels.
Prior to becoming an MEP, he attained a national campaigning and media profile as director of the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants - a UK-based independent legal NGO founded in 1967 specialising in refugee and migration issues. At JCWI he helped organise key legal challenges in the UK and European Courts. He succeeded Dame Anne Owers as director in 1992. Previous directors of JCWI have included Ian Martin, sometime Secretary General of Amnesty International. At this time he was also executive secretary to the Immigrants' Aid Trust. Moraes was appointed a Commissioner for Racial Equality while at JCWI. He was also an elected Council member of Liberty during this period.
He has written regularly on migration and human rights issues and is a co-author of the Politics of Migration (Blackwells) and the JHA chapter of The EU After the Treaty of Lisbon (Cambridge University Press). and was a Tribune columnist.
He contested the parliamentary constituency of Harrow West in the 1992 General Election.
He was first elected to the European Parliament in 1999, one of the first Asian MEPs elected to the European Parliament and London's first ethnic minority MEP. He was re-elected as a Member of the European Parliament in 2004. In 2009, he was number one on the London list of Labour candidates in the European Parliamentary elections, being re-elected to the European Parliament for the third time. He led the London list going into the 2014 European Elections and was elected for a fourth term.
Claude Moraes was the elected Spokesperson for the Socialists and Democrats Group in the European Parliament on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs from 2009-2014. In 2011 he was Dod's and the European Parliament Magazine's 'MEP of the Year' for his work on Justice and Civil Liberties. He has chaired the European Parliament's All Party Groups (Intergroups) on Ageing and on Anti-Racism. His Parliamentary reports include the legislative Report on the Protection of Seasonal Workers in the EU (2014).
In 2013 he was appointed Rapporteur (lead) for the Parliament Inquiry into Mass Surveillance following the leaks from Edward Snowden. The Inquiry and his Report "US NSA surveillance programmes, surveillance bodies in various Member States and their impact on on EU citizens' fundamental rights and on transatlantic cooperation in Justice and Home Affairs" was voted with a large majority by the EP in March 2014 and is now often referred to as the Parliament's "European Digital Bill of Rights" as it looks at the future of key data, human rights and commercial priorities for the EU in the area of data protection, surveillance, governance of the internet, cybercrime, media freedom, scrutiny, anti-terrorism and technology.
In July 2014 he was elected Chairman of the European Parliament Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE Committee).