South West MEP Sir Graham Watson
is due at Windsor Castle today for the investiture ceremony when his knighthood, one of the highest awards given to an individual in the UK, will be conferred upon him.
Earlier this year, Sir Graham was awarded the honour for public and political service, in Her Majesty the Queen's Birthday Honours List
He was the first Liberal Democrat MEP to be elected, taking the Somerset and North Devon seat by a majority of 22,500 in 1994. In 1999, he was re-elected to the wider South West England constituency as it remains today.
From 2002 to 2009 he was leader of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE
) group in the European Parliament. The only UK MEPs to have been similarly honoured in previous years also led transnational political parties in the European Parliament.
Graham will receive his knighthood together with around 80 other recipients who are being awarded honours for their contribution to their community, country, sport or their profession.
Ahead of the investiture, Sir Graham said: "The European Parliament and the work of the UK's MEPs are often overlooked. I see this honour in part as a recognition of the importance of the EU's Parliament and the work that is done there.
"Over the seven years which I spent leading Liberal Euro-MPs from across the EU, I managed to shape decisions to the benefit of Europe's citizens. I think there is still a lot to play for in building Liberal strength across Europe, and hope to be able to contribute further to this endeavour in the years to come.
"I am proud to accept this honour on behalf of my fellow Liberal Democrats in the South West, who have worked so hard alongside me over the last 17 years. We have achieved a lot together!
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