Roger was first elected to the European Parliament in 1999, and has been kept very busy ever since representing the interests of his 4.1 million constituents from across the East Midlands.
He joined UKIP from the Conservatives in 2012 and in May 2014 was re-elected for UKIP as head of list for the East Midlands Region. He was promptly elected by his new colleagues as Leader of the 24-strong UKIP delegation (the largest UK delegation in Brussels). Since 2012 he has been the UKIP Spokesman on Energy and Industry. He argues that current green energy policies are making British business less competitive, and costing jobs.
Born in 1944, Roger attended King Edward VI Grammar School in Southampton, (1955 – 62), and then won a State Scholarship to Churchill College, Cambridge, where he read mathematics, graduating in 1965 with a B.A. and subsequently an M.A.
He started his business career in 1965 with Procter & Gamble in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, going on to hold senior marketing and general management appointments in a range of companies, including well-known multinationals like Readers Digest, National Semiconductor, Coats Viyella and the whisky firm United Distillers, now part of the drinks conglomerate Diageo. During the course of his business career he lived and worked in Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia and Korea, and ran businesses in the Philippines, Vietnam, Guam and Saipan.
In September 1998, following his selection as the #1 candidate for the Conservative Party in the East Midlands, Roger left his job as managing Director of a Leicester textile company, to campaign full time ahead of the 1999 euro-elections, and took up his new rôle as an MEP immediately afterwards. He has found his decades of business experience invaluable in the European Parliament, not least in helping him to fight the battle against the tide of intrusive and prescriptive EU regulation and red tape which is causing such damage to economic competitiveness across Europe.
With like-minded colleagues, Roger has developed close relationships with conservative political groups in the USA, and has been a regular speaker at American conferences. He was recently appointed “Adam Smith Scholar” by ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council.
He has earned a reputation – and even the grudging respect of political opponents – for his clear, consistent and forthright approach to the question of Britain’s relationship with the EU. He believes that most of his constituents would be happy with the sort of relationship the British people thought they had voted for in the 1975 referendum – a relationship based on free trade and voluntary cooperation. He is adamantly opposed to further EU integration. Originally taking the view that EU treaties could be renegotiated and powers returned to member-states, he has come to realise over the years that the European Union is beyond reform, and that the only solution for Britain is to leave, and establish a simple Free Trade Deal with the EU. He believes the British people have the right, the ability, the will, and the manifest destiny to govern themselves.
Roger is divorced and lives in Ashby Magna, Leicestershire.
Roger has published three books on European issues, “Straight Talking on Europe” in 2000, followed by “A Declaration of Independence” in 2002, and “Sceptic at Large” in 2011.