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|Deputy Leader of the Conservative MEPs in the European Parliament|
|Assumed office |
20 November 2013
|Member of the European Parliament for North West England|
|Assumed office |
10 June 1999
|Alliance of Conservatives and Reformists in Europe|
Jacqueline Foster was born in Liverpool and educated at Prescot Girls' Grammar School. She worked for British Airways for more than twenty years.
Between 1981 and '85 she left British Airways and became the Area Manager (Austria) for Horizon, a British Tour Operator before returning to British Airways four years later. In 1989, she was one of the founder members of Cabin Crew '89, an independent trade union and served as the Deputy General Secretary. She continued with British Airways until she was elected as an MEP in 1999. She also lived and worked in France and Spain. She speaks French and German.
In 1988, following Margaret Thatcher's Bruges Speech, she publicly opposed Britain joining a single European currency as well as signing up to the Social Chapter. With her experience living and working in Europe, she has always maintained a constructive Euro-scepticism which remains to this day.
Foster combined her trade union activities with active membership of the Conservative Party, serving as Vice Chairman of Twickenham Conservative Association as well as holding a variety of voluntary political offices for the Greater London area. 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 the candidate for Eastleigh in the by-election of 1994 but lost out in selection.
1997 UK General Election
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 was selected for the marginal seat of Peterborough, where sitting Conservative MP Brian Mawhinney was moving to an adjacent constituency. She moved to Peterborough to fight the campaign and was among the Conservative candidates at that election who declared their personal opposition to the single European currency. The result of the 1997 general election was a landslide win for the Labour Party.
1999 European Election
Work as an MEP
During this first mandate (1999-2004), she was elected annually as the chairman of the Backbench Committee of MEPs.
Her political responsibilities were as the Conservative Spokesman on Transport and Tourism and as a Member of the Industry Committee. Due to her professional expertise she specialised in the aviation sector. Other responsibilities included maritime, road and rail.
Following 9/11 Foster was the Rapporteur/draftsman for the Regulation which introduced minimum standards of security at airports across Europe. This included new rules which required airport staff to be security screened when entering secure areas, as was the case in the United Kingdom. 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. Nevertheless, the legislation went through. She supported moves to require airlines to compensate passengers 'bumped' off flights. Other key areas she focused on included:
- Single European Sky, ATM, GNSS, Galileo (new satellite systems);
- The creation of the European Air Safety Agency (EASA);
- Slots, ground-handling and passenger rights;
- Crew operations and Open Skies agreements.
She was also a pro-active member of the Sky & Space Parliamentary Intergroup.
She was a member of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Joint Parliamentary Assembly (ACP) and became the spokesman for the Parliament on Zimbabwe, following which she was subsequently banned from entering the country.
Defeat 2004 and Re-election 2009
Jacqueline was re-selected 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. Having specialised in the aviation sector, she became an adviser to Airbus on EU legislation following which she was appointed Head of European Affairs for the Aerospace, Space and Defence Industries of Europe (ASD), based in Brussels (2005-2009). She continues to maintain an active role in these areas as Vice President of the Sky & Space Parliamentary Intergroup.
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. She was, again, appointed as the Transport Spokesman and also served as a Vice President of the Sky & Space and Animal Welfare Parliamentary Intergroups and as a Member of the EU-US Delegation. She was elected as Deputy Leader of the Conservative delegation of MEPs in 2013, and has been re-elected annually. In 2013, she argued against the Conservative Party having an electoral pact with UK Independence Party.
2014 European Election
Foster topped the ballot of the North West Candidates list for the 2014 European Parliament election. The Conservatives retained two MEPs. Following the Election she was again re-appointed as a Transport Spokesman, specialising in the aviation and aerospace sectors. She is the draftsman of the groundbreaking 'Report on the Safe Use of RPAS' (drones) in the civil sector. She continues to work closely on security issues with American authorities and other key countries around the globe. She was re-elected as a Vice-President of both the Sky & Space and Animal Welfare Parliamentary Intergroups. She has remained a Member of the EU/US Parliamentary Delegation and was appointed a Vice-President of the Australia/New Zealand Delegation where the focus is now on securing trade deals.
She has regularly been invited to address aviation/aerospace conferences, such as the Royal Aeronautical Society (drones & emissions trading), as well as frequently being called upon for political comment on all aspects of both sectors. She is a member of the RAeS as well as the European Aviation Club.
Foster also continues to take an active role on issues surrounding the Maritime sector and is a Director and Board Member of Mersey Maritime Ltd.
Foster was re-elected again, unopposed, as Deputy Leader of the Conservative delegation of MEPs in November 2018.
She was appointed President of the North West Conservative Clubs in 2010, a position she still holds.