Former Labour MEP takes charity public affairs role

Rory Palmer, former Labour Member of the European Parliament for the East Midlands, has joined the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association as senior public affairs and campaigns manager.

Rory Palmer, senior public affairs and campaigns manager, Guide Dogs
Rory Palmer, senior public affairs and campaigns manager, Guide Dogs

Rory Palmer’s stint as an MEP ended in January, when Britain formally left the European Union and he started in his new role last week.

He reports to Blanche Shackleton, Guide Dogs' head of policy and campaigns, and will have a specific focus on the charity’s policy, including its wellbeing agenda, as well as campaign priorities for children and young people with sight loss and visual impairment. 

Palmer told PRWeek: "I'm really pleased and excited to be joining Guide Dogs. When my mandate as a Member of the European Parliament came to an end this year due to Brexit, I was keen that my next role would give me the chance to continue influencing change and making a positive difference for people."

He added: “Guide Dogs is an organisation I have long supported and which does incredibly important work. I'm really looking forward to working with colleagues across Guide Dogs' impactful and busy campaigns and public affairs priorities to secure important change for people with sight loss and visual impairment."


After a brief stint as a research assistant at the IPPR think tank, Palmer spent more than four years working on comms and campaigns for Labour MPs Peter Soulsby and John Mann.

Soulsby went on to become the first mayor of Leicester and appointed Palmer as his deputy in 2011. 

During the six-and-a-half years he was deputy mayor of Leicester, Palmer’s remit included transport, climate change, economic development, adult social care, public health and communications. He left in 2017 when he was elected to the European Parliament.

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