First elected as a Conservative MEP in 1999, Geoffrey represents the East of England. He has consistently opposed European political integration, in particular EU meddling in defence, and taken a tough stance on immigration. As Britain renegotiates its relationship with the EU ahead of an in-out referendum, he wants substantive change. This includes an end to "ever closer union" and all those measures designed to move in the direction of a United States of Europe. He wants a cut in Britain's massive financial contribution to the EU (second only to Germany), and proper control over borders.
He is a former senior British Army officer with wide international and operational experience, particularly in the field of counter-terrorism. His last military appointment was at NATO Headquarters. He understands the vital importance of our close relationship with the United States. As Conservative Defence Spokesman, he takes a strong interest in the British Armed Forces and has visited our troops locally and on active service overseas.
He was instrumental in the creation of the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) political group in the Parliament to which all Conservative MEPs belong and which now has 75 MEPs from 17 nations, the third largest of the 8 political groups in the Parliament. He drew up the 2009 Prague Declaration, which sets out the founding principles of the Group. He is Vice-Chairman of the ECR and Founding President of its associated think-tank, New Direction –The Foundation for European Reform. Lady Thatcher was its Founding Patron.
He is particularly concerned about the cohesion and security of the United Kingdom and since long before the current migration crisis has been calling for proper control of our national borders, for an end to uncontrolled immigration, and for change in the way that ‘human rights’ law is interpreted. He has consistently opposed the creation of the EU's 'External Action Service' (the diplomatic service that will gradually erode our national representation abroad), and leads the opposition to the EU's misplaced military ambitions - a political project which adds nothing to military capabilities and distracts European allies from wholehearted commitment to NATO.
Among the wide range of local issues in which he has been engaged, Geoffrey works closely with local farmers, fishermen and business organisations. He has been vigorous in his support for investment in research (including into diseases affecting bee colonies), for our defence and engineering industries, and for improved coastal defences. He strongly supports our rural communities and traditional sports as well as animal welfare organisations.
Geoffrey sits on the Foreign Affairs Committee and Security and Defence Subcomittee. He is Chairman of the India Delegation and works to expedite completion of the EU-India Free Trade Agreements and to strengthen ties between Britain and India, including greater investment and exports, and military cooperation. He is on the Delegations to Turkey and to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly. He continues to take a strong interest in Bulgaria, for which he was the Parliament's Rapporteur for 6 crucial years. He chairs Friends of Sri Lanka, has spearheaded the European Parliament's campaign for democratic change in Zimbabwe, and strongly supported democratic transition in Burma/ Myanmar.
He is married with three daughters. He is a member of the Countryside Alliance and BASC.