Nominated by (own party)
Mrs Caroline Spelman, Mrs Sheryll Murray, Chris Heaton-Harris, Richard Graham, Mr Nigel Evans, Anne Marie Morris, Rebecca Pow, Mrs Cheryl Gillan, Mr David Burrowes, Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, Graham Stuart, Simon Hart, Robert Jenrick, Dr Liam Fox, Sir William Cash
Nominated by (other parties)
Huw Irranca-Davies, Mr Mark Williams, Angus Brendan MacNeil, Mrs Emma Lewell-Buck, Ian Paisley
Relevant interests declared
Family farm in Somerset from which rental income is received.
I am delighted to put myself forward for Chairman of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee and I would like to thank everyone who has offered me their support so far.
I have spent more time as a beef, sheep, dairy and arable farmer than I have as an elected politician. This means I understand the challenges facing farming today. Both farmers and consumers need a fair deal, balancing the cost of food for shoppers, with farmers being paid fairly for their efforts. It is vital that the cost of living is not in conflict with the infrastructure of the countryside. I believe the role of the Groceries Code Adjudicator needs to be strengthened so that farmers and consumers can fight back against exploitation from large retailers.
My Somerset farm means that I have seen first-hand the devastation that flooding causes to rural communities and the damage it does to homes, businesses and farms. To counteract this we need to ensure power is devolved to local drainage boards and local communities. It is not only properties that need to be protected, but high quality farmland which provides essential food security.
Common Agricultural Policy
Before being elected to Westminster I spent 10 years on the EU Agriculture and Rural Development Committee, which I chaired for two and a half years. It is of great importance that we reform the Common Agricultural Policy so that farmers and consumers get the very best deal.
As an EFRA Select Committee member since 2010, I put animal welfare at the very centre of my focus. Animal welfare is something I have also campaigned on as Chair of the Animal Welfare; Beef and Lamb; Eggs, Pigs and Poultry; and Dairy All Party Parliamentary Groups. I believe it is important that all meat sold in the UK is properly labelled, allowing consumers to make informed decisions when choosing what to purchase. In turn, this means that farmers will be rewarded for high welfare standards. We must also tighten up controls on puppy smuggling into the UK, deal with the illegal ivory trade and continue to promote responsible dog ownership.
We must not relent on the roll-out of rural broadband as it is a key factor in ending rural isolation and developing the rural economy. I will seek to ensure that BT deliver broadband to rural areas at a much faster rate.
Finally, we need to maintain our unique British landscape. It is a part of our great country, it is how our fine farmers produce excellent food, and it attracts tourists both at home and abroad. Therefore we should carry out proper environmental assessments into all infrastructure projects.
With your support I will be an effective Chair of the EFRA Select Committee. I will make sure the Government is doing all it can for our countryside, for the environment and for food production. I will be a strong voice for Parliamentarians and the rural community.