Born in Tredegar, South Wales, in 1942, Neil Kinnock attended the Lewis School for Boys Pengam, Glamorgan (as it was then) and Cardiff University whence he went on to a career in politics.
During his time as an MP from 1970 to 1995 he rose from the ranks and became Leader of the Labour Party and of the Opposition from 1983 to 1992.
His was the thankless task of leading a party during its so-called "unelectable" period. Kinnock persevered, however, and produced a much reformed Labour Party by persuading it to abandon some of its left-wing positions, such as unilateral disarmament and widespread nationalization, and adopt more moderate policies.
After his resignation as Leader in 1992, John Smith was able to build on this and Tony Blair’s third term in power owes much to the strong foundations laid down during this period.
Retirement was to prove no period of rest for this "boy from the valleys". He subsequently went on to become the UK Member of the European Commission in 1995 and under the Presidency of Romano Prodi he took on the role of Vice-President of the European Commission until his retirement in 2004.
Now the Chair of the British Council, he received the further honour of being introduced to the House of Lords on January 31st 2005 as Baron Kinnock of Bedwellty in the County of Gwent.
When his peerage was first announced, he said, "It will give me the opportunity…to contribute to the national debate on issues like higher education, research, Europe and foreign policy."
Baron Kinnock met his wife Glenys, the present Labour MEP for Wales at University. They have two children, Stephen and Rachel and four grandchildren.