Villiers remains but defeats for Goldsmith and Creagh

The environment secretary Theresa Villiers retained her Chipping Barnet seat in North London last night, but her Defra ministerial colleague Zac Goldsmith was defeated. And, on the Labour side, waste specialist Mary Creagh lost her Wakefield seat to the Conservatives.   

The Chipping Barnet seat was expected to be tight but Ms Villiers increasing her majority with 44.7% of the vote, beating Labour’s Emma Whysall and the Lib Dem candidate Isabelle Parasram, who recorded 42.6% and 10.3% respectively.

Environment Secretary Theresa Villiers, retained her marginal seat ahead of an expected cabinet re-shuffle on Monday

Secretary of state posts under the new Boris Johnson-led government are still to be ratified but so far reports are that only a small cabinet reshuffle is expected so the presumption is that Ms Villiers will stay in post.

However, one candidate who will not be involved in Defra ministerial work is Zac Goldsmith, who had been promoted to minister of state at Defra in September (see story).

Mr Goldsmith lost his keenly fought Richmond Park seat in South West London to the Liberal Democrat candidate Sarah Olney, who received 53.1% of the votes, an 8% swing.

In Taunton Deane, Somerset the current resources and waste minister Rebecca Pow retained her  seat, which was seen as a key marginal in the build up to the election.

Mrs Pow received 53.6% of the vote to Liberal Democrat candidate’s 35.2%.


Meanwhile, one of the most high profile casualties of the elections in the environment sector saw Labour MP for Wakefield Mary Creagh, who is also chair of the Environmental Audit Committee, lose her seat which she has held since 2005.

Mrs Creagh has been prominent in the waste and recycling sector as chair of the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee, tackling topics ranging from textiles recycling through to questioning regulation and government policy.

Mrs Creagh, a vocal critic of Brexit, lost her Wakefield seat which she has held since 2005

In Wakefield, Conservative candidate Imran Ahmad-Khan was elected with 47.3% of the votes compared with Mrs Creagh’s 39.8%. This represents a 9.9% fall for Ms Creagh, with the Brexit Party gaining 6.1% in a constituency with overwhelmingly voted to leave in 2016.

As Environmental Audit Committee chair Mrs Creagh has been vocal on the potential for Brexit to undermine environmental laws, and has led inquiries into the Treasury’s policies on areas including waste, as well as launching a probe into plastic bottle and coffee cup waste.

Meanwhile, there was success for the chair of the Environment Food and Rural Affairs Committee, Neil Parish, who recorded 60.2% of the vote in his Tiverton & Honiton constituency in Devon.

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