Woman to lead Labour in Europe

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THE EUROPEAN Parliamentary Labour Party will be led into next year's election by Pauline Green, the first woman to hold the post since Barbara Castle (1979-1985).

The 45 British Labour representatives are the largest single national group in the Parliament, swept into office in the landslide 1989 European election. They will be hoping to repeat their success and even increase it at the July 1994 election.

Projections by the European Conservative Party show that the Tories might lose all their seats bar one. But Labour MEPs are more cautious, fearing that with their current large majority they are in a defensive position.

Ms Green yesterday won the party leadership in a narrow vote over Glyn Ford, who has held the post since 1989 and now becomes deputy leader.

She is the MEP for London North, which includes Enfield, Barnet and Haringey. She said her main task would be to project the success of the party in Britain. 'We've had four very solid years and we need that message to get through, about where we are and the good work we're doing,' she said yesterday.

Like all the European groups, Labour has had its share of political infighting, in particular between the mainstream and the anti-Maastricht Campaign group, which has about 16 members. Some have criticised Mr Ford as being too selective in his choices for party posts. Ms Green said everyone in the party should have their chance. 'I don't mind where they are on the political spectrum.'

The group is part of the Party of European Socialists, the largest parliamentary grouping, with 198 of the 518 seats. The European People's Party, with which the Conservatives are affiliated, is second at 162 seats.