Anita Pollack

Anita Pollack

Cartoon of Anita


Education and Career

Anita Pollack was born in Australia in 1946. After gaining her school Leaving Certificate at Port Hacking High School in Sydney in 1962, she worked as a junior account executive at McCann Erickson, an international advertising company between 1963-68 whilst undertaking a four year evening course leading to a Diploma in Advertising in 1968 from Sydney Technical College.

After a stint as a copywriter in Melbourne she travelled to London in November 1969, spending a short time in market research before working in the editorial department of Granada Publishing from 1970-75.

A gap year followed in 1975-76, with her partner, travelling overland as far as south-east Asia, then a working holiday in Melbourne.

Returning to the UK in 1976, she enrolled at City of London Polytechnic, graduating with an Upper Second Class Honours BA degree in Politics and Sociology in 1979. A two year evening studies course gained her an MSc in Political Sociology at Birkbeck College, University of London, whilst undertaking administrative work for a Labour MP in the House of Commons.

Recruited in 1980 as research assistant to (then) Rt Hon Barbara Castle, leader of Labourís MEPs in the European Parliament, she remained in this post until 1989, traveling regularly to Strasbourg and Brussels.

Herself elected to the European Parliament for London South West in June 1989 with the smallest majority in the country (518), Anita was re-elected in June 1994 with almost 50% of the vote. (For details of her activities as a MEP see MEP page.) She is the only Australian to have been a member of the European Parliament.

From 2000 Anita was Head of European Policy for English Heritage until retirement in August 2006. During that time she represented English Heritage on the Council of Europa Nostra, a pan-European heritage organization.

Having a long-standing interest in India, Anita was for a number of years a member of the Advisory Council of Jeevika Trust, formerly India Development Group.

She was naturalized British in 2005, is married with one daughter and two granddaughters and lives in East London.

From 2006 to 2016 she undertook freelance consultancy on Europe and maintained an active interest in the EU, producing two books: her History of Labour MEPs in 2009 and New Labour in Europe in 2016.

Election poster of Anita


Anita Pollack joined the Labour Party in 1970 in what was then Newham North East constituency. She was amongst those who voted to deselect Reg Prentice MP in 1975, who was then a Cabinet Minister in Harold Wilsonís Labour government. At the time she was depicted on the front page of the Evening Standard as ďthe most dangerous woman in the constituency.Ē

Anita was a founding member of Labour Co-ordinating Committee (a left of centre Labour pressure group). She was also a founding member of Emilyís List (a Labour organization devoted to helping more women become elected). She held a range of branch and constituency officerships in her local Labour Party.

She has served on Labourís National Executive Womensí Committee (on behalf of Labour MEPs) and for many years was an elected member of the London Regional Board. She is a member of the Co-operative Party, the Fabian Society (for which she was for many years secretary and then chair of the Newham society), Labourís environment organization SERA, Labour Movement for Europe and Unite the Union (formerly ASTMS/MSF/Amicus). She is also a member of Amnesty International, Green Alliance, RSPB and WWF.

She was a candidate in the General election in 1987 for Woking, and for South West London in the European elections of 1984, 1989 (elected), 1994 (elected), in 1999 for the South East England region and in 2004 for London region.

The changes to the UKís electoral system to the European Parliament in 1999 put many Labour MEPs out of office, and despite standing again in 2004, she was not re-elected. She remains a member of East Ham Labour Party in the London Borough of Newham. In the 2016 referendum on Britain's membership of the EU she voted Remain.

In 2022 she contributed two pieces to "The Forgotten Tribe: British MEPs 1979 - 2020", on former MEPs Barbara Castle and Ken Collins.