Jude Kirton-Darling is a Labour Member of the European Parliament for the North East of England. Jude is a member of the International Trade Committee, the Industry, Energy and Research Committee and the Petitions Committee in the European Parliament. Jude is currently leading Labour efforts in the European Parliament to make the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, commonly known as TTIP, as fair and as transparent as possible, and has particularly opposed Investor-State Dispute settlements, or ISDS, which would function as secret international tribunals which would allow corporations to sue governments in private courts. She is also fighting to ensure that the deal excludes public services such as the NHS and that workers’ rights and environmental standards are improved rather than reduced.
Jude grew up in Middlesbrough, and is passionate about the North East, its social and industrial heritage and future. Her ancestors include rail engineers in Stephenson's works to mining engineers in Durham. This tradition of involvement in local industry continues today, as her father and brother work in energy sector design, and engineering in the region.
Jude led Europe’s steelworkers unions in negotiations with employers and the European institutions, taking up the job at the European Metalworkers’ Federation in 2008 just months before Lehmann Brothers crashed. She provided support to One North East to help ensure a future for steelworkers in Teesside at a time when unions were campaigning hard to Save Our Steel. This showed Judith's dedication to preserving a key part of the North East's industrial future.
With nearly 15 years of experience working within the Labour and trade union movement, she was elected Confederal Secretary at the European Trade Union Congress in 2011. She is able to draw on wide-ranging experience and knowledge, having represented workers in the service and communications sectors (notably fighting for rights for call centre workers and agency workers), manufacturing and basic industries.
She previously directed European trade union work in the areas of energy, industrial policy, environment and health and safety, all key areas for the European Union and the North-East in the years ahead.