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About Julie

Julie with bike

Out and about in Cambridge

I am an academic specialising in European politics and a member of the House of Lords.

I was a City Councillor for Newnham 2003 until 2015, when I stepped down in order to focus on my academic work and the House of Lords. During my time on Cambridge City Council, I served as Executive Councillor for Customer Services and Resources from May 2012 to May 2014. At various times I was chair of the City Council Licensing Committee and the West-Central Area Committee, comprising the Market, Newnham and Castle wards, which cover most of the Cambridge Colleges, and of the Area Joint Committee on Transport. From 2006 to 2010 I was Executive Councillor for Arts and Recreation, with responsibility for sports, open spaces and arts in the City. Julie at market

Professionally, I am Director of the European Centre in the Department of Politics and International Studies (POLIS) at Cambridge University, where I am a Senior Lecturer in International Relations, and a Fellow of Robinson College. I was Deputy Director of the Centre of International Studies for five years until the Centre merged with the Politics Department to create POLIS. I direct studies in Politics at Robinson and am also a Graduate Tutor responsible for the pastoral care of students studying for Masters and doctoral degrees.

I have been passionate about European politics ever since reading an article on European elections as an undergraduate, and have been able to use my languages (French and German) to do research and publish on a wide range of European issues, including: elections to the EU, institutional reform, EU enlargement, the UK's relations with the EU. I was the external examiner for the BA in European Studies at King's College London from 2009 to 2013 and have been involved in various collaborative European networks, including directing the Cambridge side of INCOOP, an EU funded network training PhD students and post-docs (2010-13), and of OPAL, an exciting ESRC-funded project looking at the role on national parliaments in the European Union (2011-4) and the Erasmus+ Pademia network (2013-16).

From 1999 to 2003, I ran the European Programme at Chatham House, where I first worked in the mid-1990s and where I had my first significant publication: "Citizens' Europe: The European Elections and the Role of the European Parliament" ahead of the 1994 EP elections. I have served on various Lib Dem European groups, including the working group for the 2009 Euro manifesto.

At Chatham House, I gained experience of managing people, both paid staff and volunteers, in a small team. We ran high-level events for parliamentarians, civil servants and journalists from the UK and elsewhere, including Berlin, Paris and Lviv, as well as working with major companies, including Boeing and Accenture. Since programmes at Chatham House don't have core funding, I was responsible for finding money to cover staff and overhead costs as well as research, so understand the importance of fundraising and have a track record of securing funding, whether from high net worth individuals or companies.

Julie with small friend

Having been an engaged and enthusiastic member of the Federal Policy Committee of the Liberal Democrats for 11 years, including four as vice-chair, I decided to take a bit of a back seat on policy at the end of 2016, so missed out on the 2017 manifesto process. I am currently on the Britain in the world working group, and have served on numerous policy working groups since the mid-1990s, including the Liberal Democrat Values group and the Better Governance group. In 2007/08 I chaired the Party's working group on Security, which dealt with internal and external security matters, as well as how to preserve our liberties at a time when they seem under threat from the government, and the Defence Working Group which reported to Federal Conference in Glasgow in Autumn 2013.

I have extensive media experience ranging from national and international radio and television broadcasting down to giving interviews to the Cambridge News and BBC Radio Cambridgeshire discussing issues within my Council portfolio such as swimming, parks and plants. In terms of television, I have appeared on a wide range of programmes, including BBC Breakfast, CNN, CBC and Sky. On radio, I have been on PM, The World Tonight, The Today Programme and numerous programmes on BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Scotland, LBC (London) and National Public Radio (US) discussing national and international politics, as well as the Moral Maze at the time when the far right entered government in 2000. I have also given numerous interviews to international print media.

I was brought up in Crosby, where I first got involved in politics at the age of 12, campaigning for Shirley Williams at the historic by-election. Following a year volunteering at the Liverpool Council for Voluntary Service, I moved to Oxford at 19 to read Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Brasenose College, before completing an MPhil and DPhil in Politics at St. Antony's College, Oxford, focusing on elections to the European Parliament, a theme on which I still write professionally and comment in the media, as well as contributing to Lib Dem and ALDE manifestos. I was a Hanseatic Scholar in Hamburg from 1995 to 1997 and a visiting Professor at the Central European University in Budapest before taking up a teaching post in Cambridge in 1997. Outside of politics, I enjoy music, ballet and theatre as well as travel and spending time with family and friends.