Diana Wallis

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Diana Wallis

Diana Wallis, Europaparalmentets vice president talar vid Nordiska Radets session i Helsingfors. 2008-10-26.jpg
Member of the European Parliament
for Yorkshire and the Humber
In office
10 June 1999 – 8 March 2012
Preceded bynew constituency
Succeeded byRebecca Taylor
Personal details
Born (1954-06-28) 28 June 1954 (age 64)
Hitchin, Hertfordshire
Political partyYorkshire Party (2015-present)
Liberal Democrat (past)
Spouse(s)Stewart Arnold
Alma materNorth London Polytechnic
University of Kent

Diana Paulette Wallis, FCIL (born 28 June 1954[1] in Hitchin, Hertfordshire) is a British former Liberal Democrat Member of the European Parliament (MEP) for Yorkshire and the Humber. Wallis was first elected in 1999 and re-elected in 2004 and in 2009.[2] She resigned her seat in January 2012. On 26 April 2013, she became an Honorary Fellow at the Law School of the University of Hull (UK).[3]

On 6 September 2013, Wallis was elected President of the European Law Institute, an independent non-profit organisation established to initiate, conduct and facilitate research, make recommendations and provide practical guidance in the field of European legal development with a goal of enhancing the European legal integration.[4] She was re-elected in 2015 for a second term, which lasted until 2017.

Wallis contested Haltemprice and Howden as a Yorkshire Party candidate in the 2015 and 2017 UK General Elections.[5]

Early career[edit]

Wallis read History at North London Polytechnic, graduating as a BA. She further studied at the University of Kent, where she obtained the degree of Master of Arts (MA). Before being elected to the European Parliament she practised as a solicitor in London and Hull and was a Councillor on Humberside County Council and East Riding Unitary Council.

Member of the European Parliament[edit]

Wallis as Vice-President chairing a parliamentary session

Wallis was elected Leader of the Liberal Democrats in the European Parliament 2000–2004 and then following the resignation of Chris Davies MEP she was re-elected Leader in 2006[6] a post she held till January 2007. She then became the first British female of any political persuasion in twenty years to be elected to the post of Vice President of the European Parliament, as well as being the first British Liberal Democrat to do so. As a member of Parliament's Bureau, her particular responsibility was for transparency and access to documents, the Arctic and high north, Question Time (jointly with another Vice-President) and the Academy of European Law.

Wallis was also a full member of the Petitions Committee. As Rapporteur to the Committee of Inquiry into the Equitable Life affair, she is author of a report which was approved by a large majority in the Parliament.

Wallis has a particular interest in issues of direct democracy and in November 2002 she co-launched the Initiatives and Referendums Institute - Europe (IRI-Europe) report in the European Parliament. In March 2006, she hosted an IRI-Europe conference in Brussels to discuss different approaches across Europe towards the issue of direct democracy and in particular the campaign for introducing a citizens' initiative at the European level. She is a Board Member of the Initiative & Referendum Institute Europe. This is a thinktank which has a particular interest in all issues relating to direct democracy.

Until Spring 2007, she was Chairwoman of the delegation for relations with Switzerland, Iceland and Norway and the European Economic Area (EEA) Joint Parliamentary Committee and remains a full member of that Committee.

Wallis employed her husband Stewart Arnold as a Parliamentary Assistant.[7] She is also a Member of the Governing Board of the Academy of European Law, Trier (ERA); a Member of the Executive Board for the Institute for European Traffic Law; a founding Member of the Board of the European Initiatives and Referendums Institute (IRI); a Member of the European Emergency Number Association (EENA) Advisory Board; an Observer Member of the UK Law Society's EU Committee, the President of the UK Institute of Translation & Interpreting, the Honorary President of Haltemprice and Howden Liberal Democrat Party and the Honorary President of the Yorkshire and the Humber Branch of the European Movement.

Throughout her time as an MEP, Wallis has authored 28 full reports excluding purely technical ones, and 16 opinions, asked 40 written and oral questions of the Commission and Council (during Parliament's 2004-2009 term). She successfully passed two written declarations – one in 2007 on the European Emergency Number 1-1-2 (which achieved 530 MEP signatures, which is the record so far), and one in 2008 on Emergency cooperation in recovering missing children.[8]

On 30 November 2011 Wallis announced her intention to stand for the position of President of the European Parliament as an independent candidate on the basis of nomination by 40 MEPs from different political groups.[9] Other candidates were Martin Schulz and Nirj Deva. Martin Schulz was elected as anticipated pursuant to the agreement between political groups, Wallis obtained 141 votes.

On 19 January 2012, at the half term point of the mandate, Wallis announced her resignation, which took effect from 31 January 2012. Wallis had been due to be succeeded by her husband Stewart Arnold, who had been second on the list of Lib Dem candidates for the seat in the 2009 election, but he declined the appointment after complaints of nepotism. Rebecca Taylor, who was third on the list, was appointed instead.[10]

Outside parliament[edit]

Wallis is a member of the Board of Directors of the International Mediation Institute and has been elected a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Linguists (FCIL). She completed the London Marathon on 26 April 2009 in a time of 5 hours 22 minutes, running in aid of the World Endometriosis Research Foundation.[11][12]


  1. ^ "Who's Who: Diana Wallis MEP". Liberal Democrats website. Archived from the original on 30 September 2007. Retrieved 10 June 2008.
  2. ^ "European Parliamentary Election Thursday 4th June 2009 Yorkshire and The Humber Region Statement of Parties Nominated" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 9 January 2010. Retrieved 18 May 2009.
  3. ^ "Hull University website". Retrieved 15 October 2013.
  4. ^ "ELI Website - Press release". Retrieved 15 October 2013.[permanent dead link]
  5. ^ "Haltemprice & Howden". 9 June 2017. Retrieved 14 August 2017.
  6. ^ "New Euro Lib Dem leader elected". BBC News. 2006-06-01. Retrieved 2008-05-14.
  7. ^ Wallis, Diana. "Declaration of members' interests, 2007" (PDF). Retrieved 2008-05-14.
  8. ^ "Parliament's legislative observatory". Archived from the original on 27 November 2011. Retrieved 30 November 2011.
  9. ^ "Wallis launches bid to be Parliament president". Retrieved 2011-11-30.
  10. ^ "MEP Diana Wallis criticised over registration 'nepotism'". BBC News. 19 January 2012. Retrieved 20 January 2012.
  11. ^ "London Marathon 2009 results". Retrieved 2009-05-18.
  12. ^ "Diana Wallis MEP runs for endometriosis". JustGiving. 2009. Retrieved 2009-05-18.


  • Wallis, Diana; Arnold, Stewart; Jones, Ben Idris (2002). Forgotten Enlargement: Future EU Relations with Iceland, Norway and Switzerland. London: Centre for Reform. ISBN 1-902622-39-1.

External links[edit]