Glenys's glowing chance

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The Independent Online
AS NEIL Kinnock's political career fades and he turns his talents to television game shows, his wife is entering the political fray, writes Michael Prestage.

Glenys Kinnock yesterday won the Labour nomination to defend the seat in the European Parliament with the largest majority in the whole of the European Community.

Asked if winning the nomination for the South East Wales constituency, where Labour beat the Tories by 108,000 votes last time, meant that she was stepping out of the shadow of her husband, she denied ever having been in it. Mr Kinnock interjected diplomatically: 'She has never been in the shadow. She has always had her own glow.'

The present MEP, Llewellyn Smith, is standing down after taking over the Blaenau Gwent seat at Westminster from Michael Foot, one of Mr Kinnock's political mentors, at the general election. Mr Kinnock's own Islwyn seat is in the area covered by the European constituency.

While the postal ballot was being counted at a leisure centre in Newbridge, Gwent, the Kinnocks watched highlights of the British Lions' rugby matches in New Zealand at their nearby home. 'It was something to take our minds off the election and ease the nerves,' Mrs Kinnock said.

It is the first election that Mrs Kinnock, 48, has entered. She had previously turned down such offers but her conversion came on the road to Bristol, as she was going to see her daughter at university. 'There was a change in circumstances after the general election which forced me to consider it,' she said. 'The children are now in higher education and people asked me to stand. I had said no, but driving to Bristol I told Neil I would.'

If she holds the seat at next year's election, the Kinnocks are confident they will be able to dovetail their arrangements and see each other as often as possible. Mrs Kinnock took 42 per cent of the votes cast in the first ballot. The selection was by alternative vote and she had a majority with three of the shortlist of seven candidates left. She was the only woman.

Mr Kinnock said: 'We are going to have a first-class MP.'

Mrs Kinnock, who will continue her teaching job until the election in June 1994, said: 'I am naturally nervous about taking on a new role of this kind.'

(Photograph omitted)