Phillip took over the family farm in Staffordshire after completing his PhD in crop science at
Newcastle University in 1985. He also has a first class degree in History/Economic History from The
University of Birmingham. His farming enterprise includes arable crops, environmental stewardship,
a biomass district heating scheme and accommodation and he served a stint as National Farmers’
Union County Chair in 1996. He is married to Penny, a radiographer at a nearby NHS hospital.
Phillip was MEP for the West Midlands from 2012-14 and played a leading role in introducing
tougher safety standards for lorries following concerns about safety of cyclists and pedestrians. He
was described as “someone to be reckoned with in the European Parliament” by President of the
European Liberals Hans van Baalen MEP. He was also instrumental in blocking some misguided
employment legislation working with Lib Dem MP Jo Swinson, who was the UK minister sitting on
the Employment Council at that time. Before he was an MEP he orchestrated the successful
campaign to introduce environmental criteria for biomass to prevent virgin forest qualifying as
As the liberal (ALDE) group spokesperson on South Asia he worked hard to try and broker a deal to
allow a free and fair election in Bangladesh, intervening to get the deputy opposition leader Fakrul
Alamgir released from prison. He also promoted a new initiative on human rights and a political
settlement for Kashmir and was an official election observer in Pakistan in 2013.
He is currently an Executive Committee member of the global liberal organisation Liberal
International and also sits on its Human Rights Committee. His main area of interest on this
committee is democratic rights and he has spoken at the United Nations Human Rights Council
calling for the release of political prisoners.