New shadow environment spokesman has green credentials

The new Conservative environment spokesman, Peter Ainsworth, who will be shadowing DEFRA secretary of State, Margaret Beckett, intends to make a concerted push for a green agenda, a central office spokesperson told edie.

Details of the Conservative Party’s environmental approach will be finalised when the new shadow team meets for the first time, she said. On agriculture, there is likely to be little movement away from the established Tim Yeo approach of presenting strong support for British farmers in Europe and taking a tough stance on imports.

Despite the incorporation of MAFF within DEFRA (see related story), Peter Ainsworth’s team will be treating agriculture as a specific area. Ann Winterton will be concentrating on agricultural policy and on the front bench, while Jonathan Sayeed and Geoffrey Clifton-Brown will share the DEFRA brief. Specific responsibilities will be announced after next week’s meeting, the spokeswoman said.

MP for Surrey East since April 1992, Peter Ainsworth has held a succession of environment related responsibilities, and gained the recognition within parliament for his green awareness by winning the green parliamentarian of the year award. He was a member of the Select Committee on the Environment in 1993/94, and has been Joint Secretary of the All Party Conservation Group. From August 1995 to July 1996 he was Parliamentary Private Secretary to Virginia Bottomley, when she was secretary of state for National Heritage. Prior to taking up his new position, he was shadow spokesman for Culture, Media and Sport, in William Hague’s shadow cabinet.

Conservative Party

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