|Member of the European Parliament
for South East England
4 June 2009
|Preceded by||The Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne|
14 January 1949 |
Broxbourne, Hertfordshire, UK
|Political party||Liberal Democrat|
|Spouse(s)||Professor Simon Bearder|
Born in Hertfordshire, she was educated at the independent St Christopher School, Letchworth. She is married to Professor Simon Bearder, a zoologist at Oxford Brookes University. The couple have three sons, Timothy, Ian and Peter. Prior to becoming an MEP, she worked as a development officer in a number of major national charities.
A former Lib Dem councillor in Cherwell and on Oxfordshire County Council, twice European candidate and parliamentary candidate for Banbury in 1997 and Henley in 2001, Bearder has been an active Liberal Democrat for many years. She is also vice-chair of the Liberal Democrat European Group (LDEG) and vice-president of the Green Liberal Democrats.
She was the second placed Liberal Democrat candidate for the European Parliament in the South East region of England. Replacing Emma Nicholson MEP, she was placed behind Sharon Bowles MEP on the party list for the 2009 European elections. Bearder was elected to the European Parliament  on 4 June 2009, and took her seat on 14 July. In 2014 she was re-elected, as the sole British Liberal Democrat MEP.
Bearder is a member of the European Parliament's Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety and the Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality, where she serves as her parliamentary group's coordinator. She focuses on environmental issues, especially wildlife conservation and biodiversity, and has founded the cross-party "MEPs for Wildlife group" which is calling for an EU Action Plan against Wildlife Trafficking. She has been appointed as one of the lead MEPs working on the revision of the National Emissions Ceiling Directive, which will set national targets to reduce emissions of harmful pollutants. This forms part of the EU's Clean Air Package, which according to the European Commission could prevent an estimated 38,000 premature deaths a year in the EU by 2030.
Bearder is a longtime campaigner on the issue of human trafficking and has been appointed to draft a European Parliament report looking at the implementation of the EU Human Trafficking Directive 2011/36/EU.
Following the 2014 European elections, Bearder was elected as quaestor of the European Parliament for two and a half years. In this capacity, she is also a member of the High-level Group on Gender Equality and Diversity and chairwoman of the Artistic Committee. Her role as quaestor made her part of the Parliament’s leadership under President Martin Schulz. In addition to her committee assignments, Bearder is a member of the European Parliament Intergroup on SMEs.
In 2015, the European Parliament approved an amendment introduced by Bearder demanding immediate publication of existing inquiries into member states involvement in secret flights operated by the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and linked to ‘enhanced interrogations’ conducted outside US territory, in particular the inquiry into UK involvement led by John Chilcot.
- Oxfordshire Rural Community Council, Patron
- Catherine Bearder official website
- Liberal Democrats select European Parliament Candidates for England
- "European Election 2009: South East". BBC News Online. 8 June 2009. Retrieved 8 June 2009.
- Toby Vogel (July 3, 2014), MEPs elect five quaestors European Voice.
- Members of the European Parliament Intergroup on SMEs European Parliament.
- Dave Keating (February 11, 2015), MEPs call on member states to admit CIA torture role European Voice.