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Foster was born in Liverpool and educated at Prescot Girls' Grammar School. In 1969 she joined British European Airways' cabin services; remaining with the merged British Airways after 1974. She was a member of the Transport and General Workers' Union and from 1976 to 1979 served as trade union representative for cabin crew. In 1975 she married Peter Foster, but they divorced in 1981.
That same year, Foster left British Airways to be Area Manager (Austria) for Horizon Tours, a holiday company. After four years she returned to British Airways, again as cabin crew. In 1989, she was one of the founder members of Cabin Crew '89, an independent trade union which broke away from the TGWU, and served on the union executive.
Foster combined her trade union activities with active membership of the Conservative Party; she was Vice Chairman of Twickenham Conservative Association. In the 1992 general election, she was the Conservative candidate in Newham South, a Labour-held seat in east London. Against the national trend, Foster cut the Labour majority. She was shortlisted as candidate for Eastleigh in the byelection of 1994 but lost out in selection. After failing to be reelected to the European Parliament in 2004, She set up her own firm of aviation consultants, Foster Jay Ltd., of which she became managing director. At the 2005 Conservative Party conference she declared her opposition to all-woman shortlists.
She continued to look for selection and in November 1995 was narrowly beaten by Eric Forth in the selection for Bromley and Chislehurst. In August 1996 she succeeded in being selected for Peterborough, where sitting Conservative MP Brian Mawhinney was moving to the adjacent seat. She moved to Peterborough to fight the campaign; she was among the conservative candidates at that election who declared their personal opposition to the single European currency, but was defeated by Labour candidate Helen Brinton.
Work as an MEP
In her first term she joined the Industry committee and the Transport (Aviation) Committee, and was Conservative group spokesman on transport from 2001. Foster tried to seek a ruling under European transport directives that the Mersey Tunnels Bill was illegal; the Bill allowed the Merseyside Passenger Transport Executive to make regular increases in the tolls for the tunnels, and to spend the money on transport elsewhere in Merseyside.
In 2002 Foster acted as rapporteur for a recommendation that airport staff be security screened when entering secure areas. The European Parliament agreed but the European Council of Ministers put off negotiations due to opposition by the governments of the Netherlands, Austria, Finland and Germany. She supported moves to require airlines to compensate passengers 'bumped' from flights. In March 2003 she pointed out that the laws requiring children to weat seatbelts did not apply on school buses.
Defeat and Reelection
Foster was reselected to fight the 2004 European Parliament election in fourth position on the Conservative list, so was not re elected when the Conservatives won only three seats.
In 2009 she was placed third on the Conservative list for the North West region in the European Parliament election and was elected once again as an MEP, with the Conservatives winning three seats for a second time.
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