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Catherine Stihler

Catherine Stihler (born 30 July 1973) is a British Labour Party politician. She was a member of the European Parliament (MEP) for Scotland from 1999 to 2019, being re-elected in 2004, 2009 and 2014. In October 2014, she was elected as the 52nd rector of the University of St Andrews. Since February 2019 she has been Chief Executive Officer of Open Knowledge International, a non-profit organisation which fights for open data and helps groups access and use data to address social problems. [1]

Catherine Stihler

Catherine Stihler MEP, Strasbourg - Diliff.jpg
Former Member of the European Parliament
for Scotland
In office
10 June 1999 – 31 January 2019
Personal details
Born (1973-07-30) 30 July 1973 (age 45)
Bellshill, North Lanarkshire, Scotland, UK
Political partyLabour
Alma materUniversity of St Andrews
ProfessionCEO of Open Knowledge International


Early and personal lifeEdit

Born as Catherine Dalling Taylor, Stihler was educated at Coltness High School, later going on to the University of St Andrews where she gained an MA with joint honours in international relations and geography and a postgraduate MLitt in international security studies.

While at St Andrews she was elected president of the Students' Association, serving from 1994 to 1995. She also served on the Scottish Executive Committee of the Labour Party from 1993 to 1995 and was the Young Labour delegate to the National Executive Committee from 1995 to 1997. While a postgraduate student she stood in the Angus constituency at the 1997 general election.

In March 2006 she had her first child, Alexander, with her husband David (whom she met while at university). Catherine and David's second child, Andrew, was born in 2011.

Political careerEdit

After the election Stihler worked for Anne Begg, Member of Parliament for Aberdeen South, as a researcher. She was placed at third on the Labour Party list for Scotland in the 1999 European Parliament election, and therefore took the third Labour Party seat under the d'Hondt electoral system becoming the UK's youngest MEP at the age of 25.

Catherine was re-elected as an MEP for Scotland in 2004 and 2009. She has served as the Deputy Leader of the EPLP and held positions as Labour's Euro spokesperson on health and fisheries. Catherine is currently Labour's Euro-Spokesperson on Consumer Rights and is the only Scottish MEP on the prestigious economic and monetary affairs committee. She was the unsuccessful Labour candidate in the Dunfermline and West Fife by-election, 2006.

As the Parliament's rapporteur on construction products (2011), she has steered through a new piece of law which improved the single market on construction products whilst ensuring the highest protection against hazardous substances. She is an anti tobacco campaigner with a key interest in campaigning for greater recognition of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and helping those who have the condition have better treatment.

As the current Vice-Chair of the Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee, her work includes improvement of EU public procurement rules, prioritising the digital single market, reform of financial services regulation in particular tackling unfair bank charges, the promotion and inclusion of all EU citizens within the digital economy as well as citizen online data protection and privacy. As leader and founder of the All-Party Library Group she has promoted and advocated for the importance of libraries and how libraries can remain relevant in the new digital age.

Later careerEdit

In November 2018 Catherine Stihler was appointed as the new Chief Executive Officer of Open Knowledge International [2]. She stood down as an MEP on 31 January 2019 to take up the role in February 2019.


External linksEdit

Academic offices
Preceded by
Alistair Moffat
Rector of the University of St Andrews
Succeeded by
Srđa Popović
Party political offices
Preceded by
Claire Ward
Young Labour representative on the National Executive Committee of the Labour Party
1995 – 1997
Succeeded by
Sarah Ward