Emma Nicholson, Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne

The Right Honourable
The Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne
Member of the European Parliament
for South East England
In office
10 June 1999 – 4 June 2009
Preceded by Position established
Succeeded by Catherine Bearder
Member of Parliament
for Torridge and West Devon
In office
11 June 1987 – 1 May 1997
Preceded by Peter Mills
Succeeded by John Burnett
Member of the House of Lords
Assumed office
3 November 1997
Personal details
Born Emma Harriet Nicholson
(1941-10-16) 16 October 1941
Oxford, Oxfordshire, England
Nationality British
Political party Liberal Democrats
Other political
Conservative (until 1995)
Occupation Politician

Emma Harriet Nicholson, Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne (born 16 October 1941) is a British politician, who has been a life peer since 1997. She was elected as the Conservative Member of Parliament for Torridge and West Devon in 1987, before switching to the Liberal Democrats in 1995. She was also Lib Dem Member of the European Parliament for South East England from 1999 to 2009.


  • Early life 1
  • Career 2
  • European Parliament 3
  • House of Lords 4
  • Other work 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7

Early life

Born in Oxford and a descendant of the family which founded London gin distillers J&W Nicholson & Co, Lady Nicholson is the third of four daughters of Sir Godfrey Nicholson, Bt and his wife, Lady Katharine (the fifth daughter of the 27th Earl of Crawford). She was diagnosed as deaf at the age of 16.[1] She was educated at St Mary's School, Wantage and the Royal Academy of Music. Prior to her political career, she was a computer programmer and systems analyst from 1962–74, and a director of the Save the Children Foundation from 1974–85.


Having been defeated at Blyth in 1979, she was elected a Conservative Member of Parliament for Torridge and West Devon, in 1987, acting as vice-chairman of the Conservative Party between 1983 and 1987. She defected to the Liberal Democrats in 1995.

She was made a life peer as Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne, of Winterbourne, in the Royal County of Berkshire in 1997.[2]

European Parliament

Lady Nicholson became a member of the European Parliament in 1999 joining the Committee on Foreign Affairs[3] which she was Vice President of from 2004 to 2007. She was President of the Delegation for Relations with Iraq and President of the Committee on Women's Rights of the Euro-Mediterranean Parliamentary Assembly [3]. Lady Nicholson was also a member of the subcommittee on Human Rights, the Delegation for relations with Iran and the Delegation for relations with the Mashreq Countries.[4] She was Rapporteur for Kashmir, and in 2007 her controversial report on Kashmir was passed by the European Parliament by a majority of 522 to 9. In 2006 Lady Nicholson was Chief Observer of the European Union Election Observation Mission to Yemen. She was a member of European Union Election Observation Missions to Palestine (2005), Azerbaijan (2005), Lebanon (2005), Afghanistan (2005), Armenia (2007) and Pakistan (2008). In January and December 2005 she was a member of the United Nations Election Observation Missions to Iraq.

Lady Nicholson also generated controversy through her strong opposition to international adoptions, which she believed had become a market and subject to corruption. While the EP's Special Rapporteur for Romania's EU accession she and some others in the international[5] community criticized international adoptions. Due partially to her pressure, the Romanian government in 2005 implemented legislation that de facto banned international adoptions, in line with practices in some of the EU member states. The measure generated controversy, mainly in the US, Israel, France, Spain and Italy, particularly from prospective parents who had filed papers for adopting a Romanian child but whose efforts were halted by the ban. International and Romanian media also called attention to poor conditions in Romanian orphanages and hospitals where abandoned children remained for prolonged periods, while acknowledging some progress made in reforming child protection. In December 2005 and July 2006, the EP passed measures requesting Romania deal with outstanding pipeline cases, despite Romania having dismissed these formally through legislation after consultation with an Independent Panel of EU Experts on Family Law. Critics claimed the Independent Panel was stacked with opponents of international adoptions. The U.S. Congress also passed repeated measures and held hearings opposing the ban.

Lady Nicholson stood down from the European Parliament at the 2009 elections.

House of Lords

In 2009 Lady Nicholson returned to London and resumed her political work at the House of Lords. In February 2010 she founded the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Business Development in Iraq and the Regions and currently serves as its Chair.[6] She is also a member of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Human Trafficking, chairs the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Foreign Affairs and speaks regularly on health care and education in the Middle East and Eastern Europe and business development in Iraq and its wider neighbourhood.[7] She was appointed as Prime Minister's Trade Envoy for Iraq[8] on 30 January 2014.

Other work

Lady Nicholson is the Executive Chairman of the AMAR International Charitable Foundation which works to recover and to sustain professional services in medicine, public health, education and basic need provision within refugee and other communities living under stress in war zones or in areas of civil disorder and disruption.

She is Executive Chairman of the Iraq Britain Business Council an organisation which facilitates business, trade investment, human resources, training and transfer of technology and know-how into the Republic of Iraq. It seeks to bring together Iraqi, British and international companies and public sector bodies by giving them a joint platform and identifying their mutual interests and common goals and is aimed to be a powerful network of the most important Iraqi, British and international business organisations, enjoying high level support from both Governments and the EU.

Lady Nicholson is also Executive Chairman of the Associatia Children’s High Level Group – ACHLG. Nicholson also co-founded its English counterpart, the Children's High Level Group now Lumos with British novelist, JK Rowling. Lady Nicholson is the co-chairman with the Prime Minister of Romania of the High Level Group for Romania's Children and the co-chairman with the Prime Minister of Moldova of the High Level Group for Moldovan Children.

Lady Nicholson is also a member of the American Bar Association's Middle East North Africa Council, the Arab Gulf Programme for United Nations Development Organisations Prize Committee[9] and Freedom House International Solidarity Committee. She is a board member of the Foundation for Dialogue Among Civilisations,[10] the American Islamic Congress, the Global Warming Policy Foundation[11] (a climate change denial think tank funded primarily by multiple anonymous donors) and a member of the Board of Advisors for the New York University Center for Dialogues, Islamic World. She is Vice President of The Little Foundation and is Honorary Advisor to the Prime Minister and Government of Iraq on Public Health and related issues.

On 9 May 1987, Nicholson married Sir Michael Harris Caine, with whom she had a foster son, who was from Iraq.[12] She was widowed in 1999. She is President of the Council of the Caine Prize for African Writing, which was named after her late husband. She is also Vice President of the Man Booker Prize Foundation and a member of the Supervisory Board of the Booker Prize for Russian Fiction.


  1. ^ Andy Beckett (31 December 1995). "profile: Emma Nicholson: Not her sort of party". Independent (London). Retrieved 2 March 2012. 
  2. ^ The London Gazette: no. 54942. p. 12601. 10 November 1997. Retrieved 25 May 2009.
  3. ^ http://www.europarl.europa.eu/activities/committees/homeCom.do?language=EN&body=AFET
  4. ^ [4]
  5. ^ http://www.laprimogenita.it/Documenti/romanadopt.pdf
  6. ^ http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm/cmallparty/register/memi373.htm
  7. ^ http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld200910/ldhansrd/ldallfiles/peers/lord_hansard_2110_od.html
  8. ^ https://www.gov.uk/government/world-location-news/baroness-nicholson-appointed-as-new-united-kingdom-trade-envoy-to-iraq
  9. ^ http://www.agfund.org
  10. ^ http://www.dialoguefoundation.org/?Lang=en&Page=29
  11. ^ http://www.thegwpf.org/who-we-are/board-of-trustees
  12. ^ Booth, Jenny. "Guest contributor". The Times (London, UK). 

External links

  • Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by Emma Nicholson
  • Emma Nicholson official site
  • Profile at the European Parliament
  • Liberal Democrats
  • AMAR International Charitable Foundation
  • Iraq Britain Business Council
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Peter Mills
Member of Parliament for Torridge and West Devon
Succeeded by
John Burnett
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