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Claude Moraes

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Claude Moraes
Member of the European Parliament
for London
In office
15 July 1999 – 31 January 2020
Preceded byConstituency established
Succeeded byConstituency abolished
Personal details
Born (1965-10-22) 22 October 1965 (age 58)
Aden, South Arabia
(now Aden, Yemen)
Political partyLabour
Alma materUniversity of Dundee
Birkbeck, University of London LSE

Claude Ajit Moraes OBE (born 22 October 1965) is a British Labour Party politician and campaigner,[1] who was a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) for London between 1999 and the United Kingdom's withdrawal from the EU on 31 January 2020.[2] He was Chair of the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee, Deputy Leader of the European Parliamentary Labour Party and Vice-President of the Socialists and Democrats Group in the European Parliament.[3]


Claude Moraes is of Indian descent. He was born in Aden (State of Aden), and grew up in Scotland, having moved to Dundee aged four from India. His parents are Indian Catholics from Karnataka (Mangalore) and Mumbai. He attended St Modan's High School, Stirling and studied law and postgraduate international law at the University of Dundee, Birkbeck, University of London and the London School of Economics and Political Science.[4] He is currently Associate Fellow at City, University of London's Institute for the Study of European Law (ISEL).[5]

Previous work[edit]

After leaving Scotland, Moraes settled in East London, living and volunteering at Toynbee Hall, an anti-poverty charity, where he was later a Council Member.[6]

He was House of Commons researcher to MPs John Reid and Paul Boateng following the 1987 General Election[7] and a national officer at the Trades Union Congress in 1989, where he also represented the TUC at the European Trade Union Confederation.[8]

Prior to his MEP election, Moraes received recognition[9] as director of the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants, a UK-based independent legal protection NGO founded in 1967 specialising in refugee and migration issues.[10] At JCWI he helped organise legal challenges in the UK and European Courts[11] succeeding Dame Anne Owers as director in 1992. Moraes was appointed a Commissioner at the Commission for Racial Equality 1997-2002[12] and was an elected Council member of Liberty 1994–2002.[13]

He contested the parliamentary constituency of Harrow West in the 1992 General Election, placing second.[14]

Member of the European Parliament, 1999–2020[edit]

He was elected to the European Parliament in the 1999 European elections, that year becoming the first South Asian (Indian) origin MEP elected to the European Parliament.[15][16] He was re-elected to the European Parliament at the number one position on the Labour Party list in the 2004 and again in the first-place position in the 2009, and 2014 European Elections.

Initially a member of the Employment and Social Affairs and Legal Affairs and Internal Market Committees he was involved in the campaign for and identifying barriers to the EU wide implementation of the Race Equality Directive (2000).[17] His legislative reports include the Protection of Minorities in an Enlarged Europe (2005), Protection of Seasonal Workers in the EU (2014) and Blue Card Migration Directive (Revision) (2017).[18]

From 2009 to 2014 he was the elected Spokesperson for the Socialists and Democrats Group (S&D) on the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee.[19]

In 2013 Moraes was appointed Rapporteur for the Parliament Inquiry into Mass Surveillance following the leaks from Edward Snowden.[20] The Inquiry and his Report "US NSA surveillance programmes, surveillance bodies in various Member States and their impact on EU citizens' fundamental rights and on transatlantic cooperation in Justice and Home Affairs" , voted in March 2014, was sometimes referred to as the Parliament's "European Digital Bill of Rights" as it looked at human rights and commercial priorities for the EU in the areas of data protection, privacy, surveillance, governance of the internet, extreme content and take-down policy, encryption, and cybercrime.[21]

He was Chair of the European Parliament Inquiry into Facebook in 2018 opening with a special evidence session questioning Mark Zuckerberg and the inquiry looked at wider issues of electoral interference, misuse of personal data, and the implications of Cambridge Analytica.[22]

In July 2014 Moraes was elected Chairman of the European Parliament Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE Committee) where he chaired EU legislative trilogues including on the GDPR and the Anti-Money Laundering Directive (AMLD).

Following the 2016 United Kingdom European Union membership referendum, he became a member of the European Parliament's Brexit Steering Committee until the 2019 European Elections. He contributed to the Parliament's position on the Withdrawal Agreement in the areas of EU citizens rights, rights of British citizens in the EU, security union and law enforcement, data adequacy, migration, asylum law and free movement.[23]

In 2018 as part of his Committee's increasing role in the humanitarian, budgetary and legislative aspects of the refugee crisis, he led delegations to Libya, Niger, Lebanon, and the Greek and Italian reception "hotspots" to improve the EU's response. In 2019 he continued his long standing refugee work as Rapporteur for the European Asylum Support Agency.[24]

Also in 2018 he was Standing Rapporteur for the European Parliament consent procedure on the European Commission's decision to directly invoke Article 7 of the EU Treaties for the first time into alleged rule of law breaches by the Polish government. He led all-party European Parliament rule of law delegations that year to Poland and Slovakia following the murder there of investigative journalist Ján Kuciak.[25][26]

In 2019 he oversaw, with the Committee on Budget Control, the European Parliament mandate to create and appoint the first European Chief Public Prosecutor and operational office tackling corruption, calling on EPPO's remit to be extended to fight serious organised criminals, including people traffickers.[27]

In May 2019, Claude Moraes stood for the Labour Party at the number one position in the London constituency and was reelected in the 2019 European Elections.[28] Following those elections he was elected Vice President of the Socialists and Democrats Group (S&D) in the European Parliament.[29]

Honours and recognition[edit]

In 2011 Moraes was Dod's and the European Parliament Magazine's 'MEP of the Year'[30] for work on human rights. In 2016 he was named as one of Politico Magazine's "40 MEPs Who Actually Matter".[31] In 2017 the organisation Vote Watch Europe listed him as "the most influential" British MEP and sixth most influential MEP in the European Parliament.[32] In 2019, with MPs Alberto Costa and Stuart McDonald he was given the Ambassador Award for work on EU citizens rights by the3million.[33] Claude Moraes was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2020 New Year Honours for services to human rights,[34] and awarded an honorary doctorate (DUniv) by the University of Greenwich in 2022.[35]


  1. ^ "Iain Duncan Smith knighted in New Year's Honours despite fury at Tory welfare policies". The Independent. 27 December 2019.
  2. ^ "Claude MORAES". European Parliament.>s
  3. ^ "8th parliamentary term | Claude MORAES | MEPs | European Parliament". www.europarl.europa.eu.
  4. ^ "Home — Birkbeck, University of London". www.bbk.ac.uk.
  5. ^ "City, University of London | City, University of London". www.city.ac.uk. 6 March 2023.
  6. ^ "Toynbee Hall Annual Report 1998 – Toynbee Hall". explore.toynbeehall.org.uk. Retrieved 31 July 2023.
  7. ^ "Our students — Birkbeck, University of London". www.bbk.ac.uk.
  8. ^ Who's Who 2021
  9. ^ Düvell, Franck (2005). Active Civic Participation of Immigrants in the United Kingdom (PDF) (Report). Carl von Ossietzky Universität Oldenburg. pp. 46–47.
  10. ^ "isbn:1137029021 - Google Search". www.google.co.uk. Retrieved 31 July 2023.
  11. ^ Lydia Morris (2010) Asylum, Welfare & the Cosmopolitan Ideal, Routledge "As in the (1996) Court of Appeal judgement of JCWI"
  12. ^ Equality, Great Britain Commission for Racial (1998). Report of the Commission for Racial Equality. H.M. Stationery Office. ISBN 978-1-85442-216-3.
  13. ^ Liberty Annual Review 2002 pg13
  14. ^ Wikipedia Harrow West (parliamentary constituency)
  15. ^ "Welcome to OBV | OBV". www.obv.org.uk. Retrieved 31 July 2023.
  16. ^ Naomi Canton (May 2019). "3 PIO MEPs elected to EU Parliament from UK".
  17. ^ "Race against time". TheGuardian.com. 30 June 2000.
  18. ^ "European Parliament". European Parliament. Retrieved 31 July 2023.
  19. ^ "S&D Group Elects Coordinators for EP Committees". 3 September 2009.
  20. ^ Natasha Lomas (23 November 2014). "Digital Privacy Is "The New Frontier Of Human Rights"". TechCrunch.
  21. ^ Gros, Valentin; De Goede, Marieke; Işleyen, Beste (2017). "The Snowden Files Made Public: A Material Politics of Contesting Surveillance". International Political Sociology. 11: 73–89. doi:10.1093/ips/olw031. hdl:11245.1/f3c18967-0847-4a88-8705-3855687ed8ad.
  22. ^ Rao, Prashant S.; Frenkel, Sheera; Schreuer, Milan (16 May 2018). "Mark Zuckerberg to Meet European Parliament Members over Facebook's Data Use". The New York Times.
  23. ^ Brexit citizens living in Europe could have rights curtailed warns leading MEP, Independent, 4 July 2017, "Claude Moraes...member of the European Parliament Brexit Steering Committee"
  24. ^ MEPs Visit Libya[permanent dead link]
  25. ^ Euractive Press Releases, pr.euractiv.com Justice & Home Affairs, 24 Sept 2018, "Polish Govt must stop dismantling Polish Supreme Court"
  26. ^ Rule of Law in Poland: MEPs to check situation on the ground
  27. ^ "European Public Prosecutor should fight terrorism, say MEPs". 21 March 2019.
  28. ^ The UK's European Elections
  29. ^ "Home | MEPs | European Parliament".
  30. ^ The Parliament Magazine, Publisher Dod's 2011, parliament magazine.eu, MEP Awards, December 1, 2011
  31. ^ Ryan Heath (19 May 2016). "The 40 MEPs who actually matter: The Ranking". Politico.
  32. ^ "Who holds the power in the European Parliament? Assessing the influence of individual MEPs". Vote Watch Europe. 11 September 2017.
  33. ^ "One of the3million awards went to 3 worthy politicians who have been of great support to us over the last three years (left to right): Labour MEP @Claude_Moraes Tory MP @AlbertoCostaMP SNP MP @Stuart_McDonaldpic.twitter.com/5KpGYjz0d0". 11 October 2019.
  34. ^ "No. 62866". The London Gazette (Supplement). 28 December 2019. p. N14.
  35. ^ "Home". gre.ac.uk.

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