|Member of the European Parliament
for West Midlands
14 July 2009 – 30 June 2014
|Preceded by||Neena Gill|
|Succeeded by||Neena Gill|
26 July 1968 |
|Political party||We Demand a Referendum (2012–14)|
|UK Independence Party (until 2010)|
|Alma mater||University of Kent|
Nicole "Nikki" Sinclaire (born 26 July 1968) is a British politician and former leader of the We Demand a Referendum Party who served as a Member of the European Parliament for the West Midlands from 2009 to 2014.
She was elected MEP in June 2009, as a UK Independence Party candidate but later resigned from the Europe of Freedom and Democracy (EFD) group in which UKIP is part of in the European Parliament, citing the alleged extreme right-wing views of some of the group's members. Subsequently Sinclaire sat as an Independent MEP from January 2010 until September 2012, when she set up the We Demand a Referendum party. She was defeated in the 2014 elections, saying in a statement on her website: "my employers have spoken, and it would seem I have been unsuccessful in my attempt to be re-elected as an MEP for the West Midlands region."
Although mainly known for her Eurosceptic views, Sinclaire has campaigned on other issues affecting West Midlands people, from jobs and the environment to human rights. She was the first ever transgender British parliamentarian.
- 1 Early life
- 2 Political career
- 2.1 UKIP years
- 2.2 Expulsion from UKIP
- 2.3 Independent
- 2.4 We Demand a Referendum Party
- 2.5 United States elections 2012
- 2.6 Kashmir
- 2.7 Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2013
- 3 Allegations of fraud, misconduct
- 4 Electoral history
- 5 Personal life
- 6 References
- 7 External links
Sinclaire was born in London and educated at the University of Kent at Canterbury, graduating with a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) degree. She has worked for Lloyds as a 'problem troubleshooter', was employed as a Gateway store manager, and worked in Cyprus in the hospitality sector. She was a Conservative before joining UKIP.
Sinclaire held many positions within UKIP, including Head Office Manager (1999–2001), member of the National Executive Committee (NEC), and Party Secretary under the leadership of Roger Knapman.
In 2001, she was disqualified from the NEC, shortly after being elected. In 2003, representing herself, she took UKIP to the High Court, successfully overturning her disqualification. In 2004, she became Party Secretary, a position which she left to become political assistant and advisor to Mike Nattrass, MEP for the West Midlands (2004–09).
Sinclaire stood for the UK Parliament twice as a UKIP candidate: in Medway in 2001 and in Halesowen and Rowley Regis in 2005. At the 2001 general election, she was the party's campaign manager for the three Kent constituencies of Medway, Gillingham, and Chatham & Aylesford.
During the 2005 general election campaign, Sinclaire stood as the UKIP candidate for Halesowen & Rowley Regis, more than doubling the previous UKIP vote. She was arrested after refusing to leave a public debate, "Queer Question Time" (to discuss issues related to the gay community) but was released without charge a few hours later.
In October 2008, it was reported that Sinclaire briefly met Baroness Thatcher at a Bruges Group dinner. Sinclaire told Thatcher that she would be standing as an MEP candidate for the UK Independence Party in the West Midlands. According to the BBC report, Lady Thatcher replied "Good for you. Never give up, never give up".
Election to European Parliament
In the 2009 European Elections, Sinclaire was elected as a UKIP Member of the European Parliament for the West Midlands region, while holding the second place on the UKIP list. Thus she became the first openly-lesbian member of the European Parliament for the UK delegation.
On 11 September 2009, Sinclaire announced she would stand in the 2009 UKIP leadership election. Her decision to stand followed Nigel Farage's announcement on 4 September that he would stand down as UKIP leader to stand in the general election against John Bercow in Buckinghamshire. The leadership ballot was won by Lord Pearson of Rannoch, with Sinclaire coming third with 1,214 votes.
65th Anniversary of the Liberation of Auschwitz
Sinclaire was invited as a guest of the European Jewish Congress to take part in events in January 2010, to mark the 65th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, and found herself as the only British Member of the European Parliament attending the event.
Expulsion from UKIP
In January 2010, Sinclaire resigned from the Europe of Freedom and Democracy (EFD) grouping in the European Parliament, to which UKIP belongs, citing her displeasure at what she claimed to be some of the racist, extremist parties in membership of the EFD Group. She also cited a deterioration in her relationship with Nigel Farage, the joint leader of the EFD group.
Sinclaire was subsequently expelled from UKIP for refusing to be part of the EFD group, On its website, UKIP stated:
"She has also proved unable to collaborate adequately with the voluntary party in the UK, particularly with the regional committee in the West Midlands. The national executive committee has therefore removed the whip; Nikki Sinclaire may no longer describe herself as a UKIP MEP, and she may not stand as a UKIP candidate in the forthcoming general election."
Sinclaire stood in the 2010 general election in Meriden. She used the label 'Solihull and Meriden Residents Association', and was endorsed by the Libertarian Party. Amongst her opponents was a candidate endorsed by UKIP. She won 1.3% of the vote, compared with 2.6% for the UKIP candidate.
Delegation to Tunisia
Campaign for a referendum
The campaign's first roadshow was held in Stoke-on-Trent on 29 July 2010 and visited over 50 towns and cities in the West Midlands alone.
Alongside her weekly road shows, Campaign for a Referendum created a ‘People’s Petition’ magazine which is in its fourth issue. The magazine gathered cross party support.
Taking the petition to Parliament
Sinclaire announced that the petition had collected the necessary 100,000 signatures on 9 August 2011. The signatures were officially delivered to Downing Street on 8 September 2011. Sinclaire was joined by MEP’s Mike Nattrass and Trevor Colman, along with MP’s Kate Hoey, Nigel Dodds and Kelvin Hopkins.
Campaign for a Referendum went to Manchester for the 2011 Conservative Party conference. Whilst at the conference, she spoke to Prime Minister David Cameron. When asked about the subject, Mr Cameron acknowledged that the petition had been delivered.
The motion on a referendum was defeated, but the result caused the largest rebellion against a Conservative Prime Minister over Europe. 79 Conservative MPs voted for the motion, with a further two Conservative abstentions and two acting as tellers for the motion. 19 Labour MPs defied the party whip, alongside one Liberal Democrat.
Despite the defeat in Parliament, the Birmingham Post reported that she planned to continue the fight of a referendum and on 31 October 2011, Sinclaire launched the second phase of the petition, which called for a referendum on whether to negotiate the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union, invoking Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty. A second petition with 100,000 names was delivered to 10 Downing Street in September 2012.
Campaigning against Irish fiscal treaty
Sinclaire and a “posse of 20 followers” travelled to Ireland distributing anti-treaty leaflets. The presence of Sinclaire and Nigel Farage was clearly resented by journalist Karen Coleman as the campaigning was perceived to be about their own interests and not that of the people of that country.
Armed Forces Parliamentary Scheme
Sinclaire enrolled onto the Armed Forces Parliamentary Scheme in October 2009.
Football in the community
Sinclaire sponsored 13 players during the 2011–12 season from teams across her constituency, ranging from the Conference North to the Premier League. Sinclaire is also a fanatical Liverpool fan and season ticket holder.
The Birmingham Post featured her argument with the council about the removal of her anti-HS2 signs.
She has protested to save the Aston Arena, a sport centre based in Aston Birmingham. She delivered a petition to 10 Downing Street with a local charity calling for the Government to save the sports centre.
Sinclaire also led a protest at Birmingham Council house against the demolition of the sports facility.
We Demand a Referendum Party
Sinclaire founded the We Demand a Referendum Party in September 2012, with which she planned to contest all British constituencies in the 2014 EU elections. However, the party's only candidates were in her West Midlands European constituency. Sinclaire spoke at the We Demand a Referendum inaugural conference on 5 October 2012.
United States elections 2012
Sinclaire campaigned in the United States elections, 2012 in Richmond, Virginia. Sinclaire supported Tim Kaine in his successful bid to become a Senator for Virginia. Sinclaire also canvassed for support for President Obama.
Sinclaire sponsored the 8th annual Kashmir week in the European Parliament in June 2013. Sinclaire spoke in a press conference supporting the right to self-determination of the Kashmiri people has said that she will continue to bring the Kashmiri issue to the political agenda of the European Union (EU).
Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2013
Allegations of fraud, misconduct
On 22 February 2012, Sinclaire was arrested along with three other people; two women aged 55 and 39, as well as a 19-year-old man on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud the European Parliament following an inquiry into an allegation made in 2010, concerning allowances and expenses. Sinclaire denied all the charges, cooperated with the police, and while the investigation was in process only would state that it was tied to a disgruntled employee who was themselves the subject of a similar investigation. On 23 July 2014, she was charged with money laundering, contrary to Sections 327 or 329 of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, and misconduct in public office, contrary to Common Law, relating to European Parliament travel expenses, in a period between October 2009 and July 2010.
On 11 July 2016, the jury in Sinclaire's trial found her not guilty. Sinclaire criticised the West Midlands Police investigation as a 'Vanity Case' as it cost £1.5 million to pursue the case against a sum of £3,200 that Sinclaire was alleged to have fraudulently claimed.
|2005||Halesowen and Rowley Regis||UKIP||1,974||4.8||+2.4|
|2009 (European)||West Midlands||UKIP||300,471||21.3||+3.8|
|2010||Meriden||Solihull and Meriden Residents' Association||658||1.3||N/A|
In November 2013, Sinclaire said that she knew she had feelings of being female since the age of three, but went through many agonizing years after being told she could not get sex reassignment surgery until she was 21 years old. She was able to start hormone replacement therapy earlier than that, and underwent gender reassignment at the age of 23. This announcement made her the UK’s first openly transgender Parliamentarian. She said that after becoming a trans woman she started to explore her sexual attraction to women, and after being raped by a man, she was confident she was lesbian.
She is a lover of animals – especially cats, owning six rescue cats.
- "Nicole Sinclaire". European Parliament. Retrieved 24 September 2012.
- "Nikki Sinclaire is a We Demand a Referendum MEP". European Parliament Website. Retrieved 14 November 2012.
- "West Midlands (European Parliament constituency)". BBC News. Bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 3 August 2014.
- "Nicole Sinclaire MEP page". Europarl. Retrieved 10 October 2012.
- Sinclaire, Nikki (25 May 2014). "The thoughts of an independently minded MEP: A statement from Nikki Sinclaire MEP". Web.archive.org. Archived from the original on 26 May 2014. Retrieved 3 August 2014.
- "Nikki Sinclaire MEP on fraud claims and Nigel Farage". BBC News (BBC). 28 March 2014. Retrieved 31 March 2014.
- "Result: Halesowen & Rowley Regis". BBC News. 6 May 2005. Retrieved 21 July 2016.
- "Protest after candidate arrested". BBC News. 26 April 2005. Retrieved 21 July 2016.
- Wheeler, Brian (28 October 2008). "Thatcher relives Bruges heyday". BBC News. Retrieved 21 July 2016.
- "European elections 2009 results map". The Daily Telegraph. London. 8 June 2009.
- "UKIP leadership: Runners and riders", BBC News, 19 November 2009
- "Survivors, World Leaders Mark 65th Anniversary of Liberation of Auschwitz". Voice of America. 26 January 2010. Retrieved 11 June 2012.
- "Rebel Euro MP Nikki Sinclaire expelled by UKIP". BBC News. BBC. 4 March 2010.
- "Rebel Euro MP Nikki Sinclaire expelled by UKIP". BBC News. BBC. 4 March 2010. Retrieved 14 March 2010.
- UKIP website[dead link]
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- SOPN[dead link]
- "Meriden". BBC News.
- "North Africa's first revolution very fragile". New Europe Online.
- "Campaign for a Referendum". Nikki Sinclaire MEP. Retrieved 11 June 2012.
- "BBC Stoke". BBC News. BBC. 29 July 2010. Retrieved 11 June 2012.
- "Nikki Sinclaire MEP Launches ambitious 100,000 'People's Petition'". Retrieved 11 June 2012.
- Walker, Kirsty (9 August 2011). "Petitioners push MPs to debate quitting EU after gathering enough support to trigger talks". London: Daily Mail. Retrieved 11 June 2012.
- Hall, Macer. "Crusade to Escape the EU marches on No 10". Daily Express. Retrieved 11 June 2012.
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- "MPs to vote on call for referendum on UK leaving the EU". BBC News. BBC. 19 October 2011. Retrieved 11 June 2012.
- "Cameron rejects EU referendum call ahead of MPs debate". BBC News. BBC. 19 October 2011. Retrieved 11 June 2012.
- "EU referendum: how the MPs voted". London: The Telegraph. 25 October 2011. Retrieved 11 June 2012.
- Walker, Johnathan. "MEP Nikki Sinclaire to continue fight for a referendum on the EU". Birmingham Post. Retrieved 11 June 2012.
- Wooding, David. "EU vote party takes on Cameron". London: The Sun. Retrieved 4 June 2013.
- Coleman, Karen. "Beware of No campaigners with agendas of their own". Irish Independent. Retrieved 11 June 2012.
- "Latest News – Nikki to join the RAF". YourMep.org. Retrieved 11 June 2012.
- "Troops fear that Afghan role is not appreciated". Worcester News. Retrieved 11 June 2012.
- "Local MEP backing Brewers Blanchett". Burton Albion FC.
- Carley, Steve. "Watch club play before big move". www.worcesternews.co.uk. Retrieved 15 August 2012.
- "MEP Nikki Sinclaire speaks out to defend rights of residents and greenbelt in Meriden". Meriden RAID.
- "Travellers lose high court battle to remain in Meriden". Coventry Telegraph.
- Willmott, Chris. "Meriden travellers have one year to leave". Solihull Observer.
- "Her views on HS2". YourMep.org.
- "MEP Nikki Sinclaire has anti-HS2 banners removed by Birmingham City Council". Birmingham Post.
- "Nikki Sinclaire discusses Aston Arena on BBC Radio WM". BBC Radio WM. Retrieved 14 August 2012.
- Henwood, Chris. "Olympic Flame torchbearer joins fight to save Aston Arena". Birmingham Mail. Retrieved 21 August 2012.
- Wooding, David (16 September 2012). "EU vote party takes on Cameron". The Sun. London. Retrieved 18 September 2012.
- "Nikki Sinclaire's We Demand a Referendum party holds first conference". Thisisstaffordshire.co.uk. Retrieved 6 October 2012.
- "Nikki Sinclaire MEP on the US campaign trail". EU Reporter. Retrieved 14 November 2012.
- Goldberg, Adrian. "Nikki Sinclaire MEP talk to Adrian Goldberg about campaigning in America". BBC WM Radio Show. BBC WM. Retrieved 6 November 2012.
- "ICHR hosts Kashmir week in Parliament". Kashmir Media Office. Retrieved 30 May 2013.
- "Nikki Sinclaire MEP talk to BBC WM about her Edinburgh Fringe Show".
- "Nikki Sinclaire MEP Edinburgh Fringe Show Official Website". Retrieved 15 August 2013.
- "MEP Nikki Sinclaire held in European Parliament fraud probe". BBC News. 23 February 2012. Retrieved 23 February 2012.
- Holehouse, Matthew (23 February 2012). "MEP Nikki Sinclaire arrested in expenses probe". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 23 February 2012.
- "Ex-MEP Nicole Sinclaire charged with money laundering and misconduct in public office". CPS News Brief. Crown Prosecution Service. 23 July 2014. Retrieved 23 July 2014.
- "Nikki Sinclaire cleared: Expenses probe was 'vanity' case". BBC News. 11 July 2016. Retrieved 11 July 2016.
- Foggo, Daniel (29 August 2004). "I won't be your leader, 6ft 4in lesbian tells UKIP's gay members". The Daily Telegraph. London. ISSN 9976-1874. Retrieved 1 July 2012.
- "MEP Nikki Sinclaire reveals she had a sex change at the age of 23", Metro, 17 November 2013
- Chris Stevenson "MEP Nikki Sinclaire 'overwhelmed' by support as UK’s first 'sex-change parliamentarian'", The Independent, 17 November 2013
- Aaron Day "Former UKIP MEP reveals she is the UK’s first transgender Parliamentarian", Pink News, 17 November 2013
- Arkell, Harriet (18 November 2013). "Sex-change politician says she became lesbian after being raped four years after she became a woman". Daily Mail. London.
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