TREDEGAR-born MEP Jonathan Evans has been elected leader of the Conservative group in the European Parliament.

He ousted Edward McMillan-Scott in a ballot among Tory MEPs in Strasbourg. His predecessor had held the position since 1997.

The Conservative group of 35 MEPs is the second largest national delegation in the parliament and the largest from the UK.

Henri Lloyd Davies, chairman of the Welsh Conservative Party, said: "I am delighted that Jonathan Evans has been elected as the leader of the Conservatives in the European Parliament.

"Jonathan is a politician of vast experience in Welsh and international politics and is greatly respected throughout the political spectrum.

"He is a hard-working politician who has been a valuable asset to the Welsh Conservative Party and I'm sure will now be a successful leader in the European Parliament."

Nick Bourne, leader of the party's National Assembly group, said his friend's election would enhance the position of Wales in Europe.

"Jonathan's election to the leadership of the conservative group in the European Parliament will be a tremendous boost to the image of Wales throughout Europe. On behalf of the Assembly group, I offer our sincere congratulations."

Born in Tredegar, Mr Evans was educated at the Lewis School, Pengam.

From there he attended Howardian High School, Cardiff, the College of Law, Guildford and Lancaster Gate, London. He became a solicitor in the law firm of former Pontypool Labour MP Leo Abse.

He later became managing partner of the firm where he practised from 1973 until his election to Parliament in 1992. He held Brecon & Radnor from 1992 to 1997.

In June 97, he was appointed chief Conservative spokesman in Wales and he led the No campaign in the Welsh Assembly referendum. He was elected to the European parliament in 1999.

He has been married to Margaret, a health visitor, for 25 years and they have three children.