Neil Parish, conservative MP for Tiverton and Honiton in Devon, has been re-elected as chairman of Parliament’s Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (EFRA) Select Committee, a position he held in the last Parliament. He beat off challenges from Zac Goldsmith, MP for Richmond Park in London and Bill Wiggin, MP for North Herefordshire.
“No single Department is affected by Brexit more than Defra,” says Mr Parish. “As a former MEP, I know how Brussels works and how negotiations are conducted at a European level. I was also chairman of the European Parliament’s Agriculture Committee from 2007-2009 when I had many dealings with the then French Agriculture Minister, Michel Barnier – now the European Chief Negotiator for Brexit. I am keen to use this experience to scrutinise the Government’s stance on agriculture, tariffs, fisheries and EU labour throughout Brexit negotiations.
“As a former dairy farmer, I care deeply about devising a sustainable and productive agricultural system. Leaving the EU gives Britain a big opportunity to simplify regulations on the Basic Farm Payment and Stewardship schemes. I want to ensure we devise the best possible domestic support system over this Parliament, producing good quality food at a competitive price, while protecting our precious countryside.
“I have a strong record of holding the Government to account. Under my Chairmanship in the last Parliament, the EFRA Committee held the Government’s feet to the fire on a whole range of issues, from air quality to flood defences and rural tourism to the performance of the Rural Payments Agency.”