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Nikki Sinclaire

Nikki Sinclaire
We Demand a Referendum MEP for the West Midlands
Member of the European Parliament
for West Midlands
In office
14 July 2009 – 30 June 2014
Preceded by Neena Gill
Succeeded by Neena Gill
Personal details
Born (1968-07-26) 26 July 1968
Political party We Demand a Referendum
Other political
UK Independence Party (until 2010)
Alma mater University of Kent
Website [1]

Nicole "Nikki" Sinclaire (born 26 July 1968)[1] is a former politician from the United Kingdom and was the We Demand a Referendum Party[2] Member of the European Parliament for the West Midlands. In the 2014 European elections, she conceded she had lost her seat.[3] In a statement on her website she said: "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."[4] 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 in September 2012 she set up the We Demand a Referendum party.[5][5]

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.

Sinclaire sits on the Committee for Employment and Social Affairs, Committee on Petitions, Subcommittee on Human Rights, Delegation to the EU-Chile Joint Parliamentary Committee, and the Delegation to the Euro-Latin American Parliamentary Assembly, and is a substitute member on the Committee for Women's Rights and Gender Equality.

Early life

Sinclaire was born in London[1] 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.[6]

Political career

UKIP years

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 (2004–2009).

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 UK 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)[7] but was released without charge a few hours later.[8]

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".[9]

She has also campaigned abroad, most notably in the United States, assisting on campaigns for US Representative Susan Davis and California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

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.[10]

On 11 September 2009, Sinclaire announced she would stand in the 2009 UKIP leadership election.[11] 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,[12] 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.[13]

Sinclaire was subsequently expelled from UKIP for refusing to be part of the EFD group,[14] 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."[15]

Sinclaire won an Employment Tribunal claim for sex discrimination against her former colleagues. UKIP did not lodge a defence, so the tribunal's decision went against the party by default.[16]


After UKIP

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.[17] She won 1.3% of the vote, compared with 2.6% for the UKIP candidate.[18]

Delegation to Tunisia

Sinclaire was the only UK politician to be chosen to fly to Tunisia in early February 2011, as part of an international delegation following the ousting of President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali.[19]

Campaign for a referendum

Sinclaire launched a campaign for a referendum[20] in July 2010, with the aim of collecting 100,000 signatures calling for a referendum on the UK’s continued membership of the European Union.

The campaign's first roadshow was held in Stoke-on-Trent on 29 July 2010[21] and has since 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’[22] magazine which is in its fourth issue. The magazine has gathered cross party support.

Taking the petition to Parliament

Sinclaire announced that the petition had[23] collected the necessary 100,000 signatures in a press conference on 9 August 2011.]

This was followed by the official delivering of the signatures to Downing Street on 8 September 2011.[24] 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.[25] When cornered on the subject of a referendum, Mr Cameron acknowledged that the petition had been delivered.

A date for the debate in commons on this issue was set for 27 October,[26] which was then changed to 24 October,[27] allowing for the Prime Minister and William Hague to attend.

Despite the motion on a referendum being defeated, the result caused the largest rebellion against a Tory Prime Minister over Europe. 79 Conservative MPs voted for the motion, with a further two Tory abstentions and two acting as tellers for the motion. 19 Labour MPs defied the party whip, alongside one Liberal Democrat.[28]

Despite the defeat in Parliament, the Birmingham Post reported that she was not about to give up the fight of a referendum.[29]

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. The petition aims to be the largest in the country, with the aim that members of the public to table a bill in Parliament.[30]

A second petition containing 100,000 names was delivered to 10 Downing Street in September 2012.[31]

Campaigning against Irish fiscal treaty

Sinclair and a “posse of 20 follower” travelled to Ireland distributing anti-treaty leaflets. Her presence and also that of 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 Irish people.[32]

Armed Forces Parliamentary Scheme

Sinclaire enrolled onto the Armed Forces Parliamentary Scheme in October 2009.[33]

As a part of this scheme she visited Afghanistan in November 2011, where she was alarmed to speak to troops who worried about how their families were being looked after at home in the UK.[34]

Football in the community

Sinclaire sponsored 13 players during the 2011–12 season from teams across her constituency,[35] ranging from the Conference North to the Premier League. Sinclaire is also a fanatical Liverpool fan and season ticket holder.

Sinclaire sponsored and distributed a leaflet in August 2012 for Worcester City Football Club[36] to help promote their final season at their St George’s Lane ground.

Meriden travellers

Sinclaire has worked alongside local residents group RAID[37] in protesting against an unauthorised gypsy camp on the Eaves Green Lane site in Meriden, West Midlands.

The Travellers on the Eaves Green Lane site were told they would have to leave[38] and were given a year to move on by Solihull Council in a court hearing in May 2012.[39]


Sinclaire is an active campaigner against the HS2 project[40] which aims to link Birmingham and London by High Speed Rail.

The Birmingham Post featured her argument with the council about the removal of her anti-HS2 signs.[41]

Aston Arena

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.[42]

Sinclaire also led a protest at Birmingham Council house against the demolition of the sports facility [43]

We Demand a Referendum Party

Sinclaire founded the We Demand a Referendum Party in September 2012, with which she intends to contest all British constituencies in the upcoming 2014 EU elections.[44] However, the party is only standing candidates in her West Midlands European constituency. Sinclaire spoke at the We Demand a Referendum inaugural conference on 5 October 2012.[45]

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.[46] Sinclaire also canvassed for support for President Obama.[47]


Sinclaire sponsored the 8th annual Kashmir week in the European Parliament in June 2013. Sinclaire spoke in a press conference[48] 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

Sinclaire announced her one off Edinburgh Fringe Show on 13 August 2013.[49] The show, called "The EU - It's not funny" is a political satire.[50]

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.[51][52] 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.[51] 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.[53]

Electoral history

Year Constituency Party Votes % ±%
2001 Medway UKIP 958 2.5 +1.6
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

Personal life

In 2004, Sinclaire came out as lesbian in a letter to the LGBT newspaper The Pink Paper.[54] She however stated that she had no desire to be the leader of an LGBT group within UKIP.[54]

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.[55] She was able to start hormone replacement therapy earlier than that, and underwent gender reassignment at the age of 23.[55][56] This announcement made her the UK’s first openly transgender Parliamentarian.[57] 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.[58]


  1. ^ a b "Nicole Sinclaire".  
  2. ^ "Nikki Sinclaire is a We Demand a Referendum MEP". European Parliament Website. Retrieved 14 November 2012. 
  3. ^ "BBC News - West Midlands (European Parliament constituency) - EU Parliament Region". Retrieved 3 August 2014. 
  4. ^ Sinclaire, Nikki (25 May 2014). "The thoughts of an independently minded MEP: A statement from Nikki Sinclaire MEP". Retrieved 3 August 2014. 
  5. ^ a b "Nicole Sinclaire MEP page". Europarl. Retrieved 10 October 2012. 
  6. ^ "Nikki Sinclaire MEP on fraud claims and Nigel Farage". BBC News (BBC). 28 March 2014. Retrieved 31 March 2014.
  7. ^ Result: Halesowen & Rowley Regis
  8. ^ Protest after candidate arrested
  9. ^ Thatcher relives Bruges heyday
  10. ^ "European elections 2009 results map". The Daily Telegraph (London). 8 June 2009. 
  11. ^ "UKIP leadership: Runners and riders", BBC News, 19 November 2009
  12. ^ "". Voice of America. Retrieved 11 June 2012. 
  13. ^ "Rebel Euro MP Nikki Sinclaire expelled by UKIP". BBC News (BBC). 4 March 2010. 
  14. ^ "Rebel Euro MP Nikki Sinclaire expelled by UKIP". BBC News (BBC). 4 March 2010. Retrieved 14 March 2010. 
  15. ^ UKIP website
  16. ^ "Nikki Sinclaire wins UKIP sex discrimination case" BBC News 23 December 2010
  17. ^ SOPN
  18. ^ "Meriden".  
  19. ^ "North Africa's first revolution very fragile". New Europe Online. 
  20. ^ "Campaign for a Referendum". Nikki Sinclaire MEP. Retrieved 11 June 2012. 
  21. ^ "BBC Stoke". BBC News (BBC). 29 July 2010. Retrieved 11 June 2012. 
  22. ^ "Nikki Sinclaire MEP Launches ambitious 100,000 ‘People’s Petition’". Retrieved 11 June 2012. 
  23. ^ 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. 
  24. ^ Hall, Macer. "Crusade to Escape the EU marches on No 10". Daily Express. Retrieved 11 June 2012. 
  25. ^ Walker, Johnathan. "MEP Nikki Sinclaire confronts Cameron over Europe". Birmingham Post. Retrieved 11 June 2012. 
  26. ^ "MPs to vote on call for referendum on UK leaving the EU". BBC News (BBC). 19 October 2011. Retrieved 11 June 2012. 
  27. ^ "Cameron rejects EU referendum call ahead of MPs debate". BBC News (BBC). 19 October 2011. Retrieved 11 June 2012. 
  28. ^ "EU referendum: how the MPs voted". London: The Telegraph. 25 October 2011. Retrieved 11 June 2012. 
  29. ^ Walker, Johnathan. "MEP Nikki Sinclaire to continue fight for a referendum on the EU". Birmingham Post. Retrieved 11 June 2012. 
  30. ^ "Have Your Say New Petition". Retrieved 11 June 2012. 
  31. ^ Wooding, David. "EU vote party takes on Cameron". London: The Sun. Retrieved 4 June 2013. 
  32. ^ Coleman, Karen. "Beware of No campaigners with agendas of their own". Irish Independent. Retrieved 11 June 2012. 
  33. ^ "Latest News - Nikki to join the RAF". Retrieved 11 June 2012. 
  34. ^ "Troops fear that Afghan role is not appreciated". Worcester News. Retrieved 11 June 2012. 
  35. ^ "Local MEP backing Brewers Blanchett". Burton Albion FC. 
  36. ^ Carley, Steve. "Watch club play before big move". Retrieved 15 August 2012. 
  37. ^ "MEP Nikki Sinclaire speaks out to defend rights of residents and greenbelt in Meriden". Meriden RAID. 
  38. ^ "Travellers lose high court battle to remain in Meriden". Coventry Telegraph. 
  39. ^ Willmott, Chris. "Meriden travellers have one year to leave". Solihull Observer. 
  40. ^ "Her views on HS2". 
  41. ^ "MEP Nikki Sinclaire has anti-HS2 banners removed by Birmingham City Council". Birmingham Post. 
  42. ^ "Nikki Sinclaire discusses Aston Arena on BBC Radio WM". BBC Radio WM. Retrieved 14 August 2012. 
  43. ^ Henwood, Chris. "Olympic Flame torchbearer joins fight to save Aston Arena". Birmingham Mail. Retrieved 21 August 2012. 
  44. ^ Wooding, David (16 September 2012). "EU vote party takes on Cameron". The Sun (London). Retrieved 18 September 2012. 
  45. ^ "Nikki Sinclaire's We Demand a Referendum party holds first conference". Retrieved 6 October 2012. 
  46. ^ "Nikki Sinclaire MEP on the US campaign trail". EU Reporter. Retrieved 14 November 2012. 
  47. ^ Goldberg, Adrian. "Nikki Sinclaire MEP talk to Adrian Goldberg about campaigning in America". BBC WM Radio Show. BBC WM. Retrieved 6 November 2012. 
  48. ^ "ICHR hosts Kashmir week in Parliament". Kashmir Media Office. Retrieved 30 May 2013. 
  49. ^ "Nikki Sinclaire MEP talk to BBC WM about her Edinburgh Fringe Show". 
  50. ^ "Nikki Sinclaire MEP Edinburgh Fringe Show Official Website". Retrieved 15 August 2013. 
  51. ^ a b "MEP Nikki Sinclaire held in European Parliament fraud probe". BBC News. 23 February 2012. Retrieved 23 February 2012. 
  52. ^ Holehouse, Matthew (23 February 2012). "MEP Nikki Sinclaire arrested in expenses probe". The Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved 23 February 2012. 
  53. ^ "Ex-MEP Nicole Sinclaire charged with money laundering and misconduct in public office - CPS News Brief".  
  54. ^ a b Foggo, Daniel (29 August 2004). "I won't be your leader, 6ft 4in lesbian tells UKIP's gay members". The Daily Telegraph (London).  
  55. ^ a b "MEP Nikki Sinclaire reveals she had a sex change at the age of 23", Metro, 17 November 2013
  56. ^ Chris Stevenson "MEP Nikki Sinclaire 'overwhelmed' by support as UK’s first 'sex-change parliamentarian'", The Independent, 17 November 2013
  57. ^ Aaron Day "Former UKIP MEP reveals she is the UK’s first transgender Parliamentarian", Pink News, 17 November 2013
  58. ^ 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). 

External links

  • Official Website
  • Profile at European Parliament website
  • Political advisor website
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