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Alexander Pau (born 18 August 1961) is a British liberal politician, who, since 5 May 2010, has served as the Shadow Foreign Secretary of the Huhne Shadow Cabinet. He was Leader of the Liberal Democrat Party from April 2006 to January 2010. An interpreter and translator by profession, he has been Member of Parliament for Carshalton and Wallington from 1996 to 2000, Member of the European Parliament for North East England from 2000 to 2004 and Member of Parliament for North West Durham since 2004.
Early life and education
Pau was born in South Shields, Tyne & Wear to trade union leader Cedric Pau and his wife Renée. He studied History & Modern Languages at Durham University from 1980 to 1985, working as a translator for the BBC until 1991. He then became a German, Dutch and French interpreter for the Kenyan government, while studying for a doctoral degree in German from McGill University.
Career in the Liberal Democrat Party
Pau joined the Liberal Democrat Part in 1980. He was Chairman of the Young Liberals from 1983 to 1985.Having been a member of the Executive Board of the Lib Dems since 1988, he first gained national prominence in 1994, when he was appointed Liberal Democrat Spokesperson on Foreign Affiars. As such, he was a notable proponent of an unlimited free market economies and took a leading part in drafting a new party programme. In 1996, Pau was replaced as an interpreter to the Kenyan government and so ran for election to Member of Parliament Carshalton and Wallington. He held this position until 2000.