28 January 2020 by James Langley

Neil Parish returns as EFRA committee chair

Conservative MP for Tiverton and Honiton Neil Parish has been confirmed as the chair of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee (EFRA).

Mr Parish was the incumbent chair, having first been elected unopposed in 2015.

Neil Parish has been re-elected as EFRA committee chair

With nominations for the role closing yesterday evening (27 January), he was the only candidate and so won by default.

In a statement supporting his bid to chair the committee he said: “From cutting plastic and food waste, to improving animal welfare, air quality and designing a first-class fishing and agriculture policy, select committees can make a real difference.

“I believe an evidence-based cross-party approach can help both scrutinise and influence government policy for the better.At this crucial time, I believe we need experienced voices at the table to ensure our new policies are workable.”

Mr Parish was first elected to parliament in 2010 and chairs the Associate Parliamentary Group for Animal Welfare.

EAC

Elsewhere, a ballot will take place in Westminster tomorrow, 29th January, to elect the chair of the select committees, including the Environmental Audit Committee (EAC).

Philip Dunne was appointed MP for Ludlow in 2005

Conservatives Philip Dunne, MP for Ludlow, and Matthew Offord, MP for Hendon, are standing to chair the EAC chair.

The committee’s remit is to examine how government department’s policies and programmes will affect the environment and sustainable development.

A former farmer, Mr Dunne was appointed minister for state for health in 2016 but was dismissed in Theresa May’s January 2018 reshuffle and joined the EAC immediately after.

In a statement supporting his bid to be chair he said: “The coming task is significant. I would work collaboratively with colleagues to encourage individual interests of members.

“A focus would not just be on problems, but on solutions: seeing how British innovators in the technologies of tomorrow can build on existing UK world leading strengths in finance, green energy and engineering.”

He is backed by MPs from his own party and others, including James Brokenshire, Penny Mordaunt and Yvette Cooper.

Brexit

With a PhD in Geography from King’s College London, Dr Offord has been a member of the EAC since 2012.

“Brexit is an opportunity to strengthen our environmental standards”

Dr Matthew Offord

In his own supporting statement, he said: “Brexit for me is an opportunity to strengthen, not weaken, our environmental standards.

“We cannot afford to fall behind our neighbours in the EU and I will always work to ensure that this is the case.

“As the government shapes its new environmental policy through the 25 Year Environment Plan, I and any committee that I lead will be at the forefront of holding them to account.”

He numbers Ed Miliband and Dr Alan Whitehead among his supporters.

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