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How the General Election changed rural and farming constituency seats

Tom Haynes, the National Pig Association's senior policy adviser, has analysed how farming and rural seats have changed following the General Election

clock • 3 min read
"It is clear that there has been a lot of change in rural Britain, historically the stomping ground of the Conservatives. Who will be championing the British countryside going forward?"
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"It is clear that there has been a lot of change in rural Britain, historically the stomping ground of the Conservatives. Who will be championing the British countryside going forward?"

Who will be championing the British countryside following the General Election?

The National Pig Association has provided a summary of the notable moments in rural constituencies and what it could mean for farming and rural communities following the victory of Sir Keir Starmer's Labour Party.

Tom Haynes, the National Pig Association's senior policy adviser, said the results had changed rural Britain, historically the 'stomping ground of the Conservatives', with questions of who would champion the British countryside going forward.

READ NOW: How the General Election could shake-up rural Britain and farming communities

"There were dramatic loses across the current and former Defra ministerial teams, with two of the incumbent ministerial team losing their seats in Sir Mark Spencer and Rebecca Pow," Mr Haynes added. 

"Sir Mark has been ousted in Sherwood Forest by Labour, while Pow lost to the Liberal Democrats in Taunton and Wellington, a common theme in the South West.

"Other high profile loses include Liz Truss, Therese Coffey, Ranil Jayawardena and Victoria Prentis as well as the former seats of George Eustice and Jo Churchill being lost for the Conservatives.  

"More broadly across the East of England, Duncan Baker in North Norfolk, Lucy Frazer in Ely and East Cambridgeshire, and Anthony Browne's former seat of South Cambridgeshire have all changed hands to the Liberal Democrats."

The NPA senior policy adviser also highlighted gains for the Green Party in the rural Suffolk seat of Waveney Valley.

"The other big change of note in the area, and of significance to many of our members, is the success of the Green Party in Waveney Valley," Mr Haynes added.

"The new MP, Adrian Ramsay, won with a majority of over 5,500 compared to the second-place Conservative candidate.

"George Freeman in Mid Norfolk was one of the few Conservatives in the region to hold on to his seat.  

"The Liberal Democrat success story continued in much of the South West, with high profile former Conservative MPs like Michelle Donelan in Melksham and Devizes, Chris Loder in West Dorset and the newly drawn constituency of Frome and East Somerset all returning Lib Dem MPs.  

"It was less dramatic in Yorkshire, another significant pig farming part of the country, with Rishi Sunak, Kevin Hollinrake, Sir Alec Shelbrooke, Graham Stuart, and Sir David Davis all retaining their seats.

"However, it was not without some change, with York Outer returning a new Labour MP in Luke Charters.

"There have, however, been similar Labour gains a little further North with Anne-Marie Trevelyan in North Northumberland, Guy Opperman in Hexham, and John Stevenson in Carlise all losing their seats."

Summarising the results, Mr Haynes said there was now a lot of new faces representing rural seats, and it was now the NPA's job to engage with them. 

"There is a lot to take in with these results, but the long and short of it is that there are a lot of new faces representing our most rural seats," he says.

"The NPA team will now spend the coming weeks and months writing to and meeting with as many of these new MPs as possible, in particular those which are key to our members.

"There is so much work to be done to support British agriculture over this Parliament and it is going to be vital that we can build a cross-party coalition of MPs who can champion the pig sector.  

"The appointment of the Prime Minister's ministerial team did not present many surprises and with Cabinet appointments already declared, we now await the announcement of junior ministers.

"The next big event will take place on July 17 with the State Opening of Parliament and the King's Speech.

"This will set out the Government's agenda for the year ahead and will give us the best indication to date of Labour's immediate plans in Government.

"Finally, but by no means least, it would be remiss of me to not draw a quick light on the electoral success of my predecessor at the NPA, Charlie Dewhirst, the new MP for Bridlington and The Wolds.

"Many congratulations Charlie and I look forward to working with you in your new role."

READ NOW: Farming industry reacts to Labour General Election win

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