Neil Parish re-elected as EFRA chair

Devon MP Neil Parish has been re-elected as chair of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (EFRA) Committee .

In a secret ballot of MPs on Wednesday, Mr Parish received 324 votes, well ahead of two rivals,  Zac Goldsmith (107) and Bill Wiggin (137).

Mr Parish will formally take up position as chair of the committee when the remaining members of the committee have been named by the House.

In an article for the Politics Home website this week, Mr Parish issued a warning to new Defra Secretary Michael Gove about being tempted to slash support for farmers after we leave the EU and the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

“As a former dairy farmer myself, I know we have a great farming industry with high-quality products. But we need to set the right conditions for this great British industry to thrive,” Mr Parish wrote.

“The new Defra Secretary, Michael Gove, must now resist being bowled over by the Chancellor. Some free market thinkers believe Britain’s departure from the CAP is a golden opportunity to drastically scale back — and even end — agricultural subsidies altogether.

“This would be a mistake. We need to start re-making the case for targeted investment in our farmers and the rural economy. Farm support payments play a crucial role in delivering on climate change targets, on providing jobs, as well as ensuring protection for our precious wildlife and countryside.

“Support payments are also essential for food security. British farming produces 61 per cent of our food. It is also the UK’s largest manufacturing sector, worth 108 billion to our economy. It makes no sense to weaken our farming sector to the extent we have to import more food from abroad.”

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About The Author

Editor of Pig World and contributor to LBM’s other farming publications. Also National Pig Association webmaster. Formerly political editor at Farmers Guardian for many years. Enjoy a bit of media punditry. Brought up on a Leicestershire farm. Work from a shed in the garden in Oxfordshire. Under-9 football coach and big fan of Leicester City and Leicester Tigers. Occasional cricketer.