Food waste champion McCarthy becomes shadow Defra minister

Bristol West MP Kerry McCarthy – a champion of laws to tackle food waste reduction and redistribution – has been appointed shadow environment secretary by new Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Kerry McCarthy speaking ahead of the Food Waste Reduction Bill reading last week (photo: Thom Undrell)
Kerry McCarthy speaking ahead of the Food Waste Reduction Bill reading last week (photo: Thom Undrell)
Kerry McCarthy speaking ahead of the Food Waste Reduction Bill reading last week (photo: Thom Undrell)

Ms McCarthy was included on Mr Corbyn’s list of shadow cabinet members, finalised today (September 14), and will take over from Maria Eagle as Shadow Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

The Labour MP’s Food Waste (Reduction) Bill, is currently being steered through Parliament, having had its first reading last week, and is due for its second reading in January 2016. The law would oblige UK supermarkets to donate unsold edible food where redistribution charities are willing to form partnerships, while also publishing their food waste arisings.

Recycling minister Rory Stewart also indicated his support for the bill, which was introduced by Ms McCarthy – a committed vegan – last Wednesday (September 9).

Speaking at an event to introduce the bill last week, Ms McCarthy told letsrecycle.com said she believed more waste could be cut from supermarkets “if we have government in the driving seat to push things forward” (see letsrecycle.com story).

The appointment is Ms McCarthy’s first front bench role, having first been elected to parliament in 2005.

Ms McCarthy will work alongside Barry Gardiner, MP for Brent North, who will remain as Shadow Environment Minister, it has been confirmed.

During the 2015 General Election, Mr Gardiner criticised the coalition government for its “failure” to address the UK’s stalling recycling rates (see letsrecycle.com story).

Other appointments to Mr Corbyn’s shadow cabinet include veteran Hemsworth MP John Trickett, who will take over as Shadow Communities Secretary as well as taking on the role of Shadow Minister for Constitutional Convention.

Lisa Nandy, MP for Wigan, takes over as Shadow Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change in what is her first front bench role since being elected to parliament in 2010. Ms Nandy has previously been touted as a potential successor to Mr Corbyn as Labour leader.

And, Wallasey MP Angela Eagle was yesterday announced as Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills.

Jeremy Corbyn

The appointments follow the election of Mr Corbyn as the new Labour Party leader on Saturday (September 12) after a three-month campaign period, during which he made 10 pledges on energy and the environment, including an aim to create “a modern, green, resource-efficient economy – creating new green climate jobs”.

Meanwhile, Mr Corbyn’s website also states that “we have done much to improve recycling rates, cut emissions and make our air cleaner” but that “we must continue to do more”.

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