Mixed reaction to McCarthy appointment

The farming community has given a decidedly lukewarm reaction to the appointment of Kerry McCarthy MP as Shadow Environment Secretary. 

Appointed today as part of new Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s cabinet, McCarthy is MP for Bristol East.

Countryside Alliance chief executive Tim Bonner said: “We look forward to hearing how Ms McCarthy, who is patron of the Vegan society which believes “animal farming is no longer sustainable and severely damaging to the environment” and is “against all shooting sports” intends to re-engage the Labour party with the rural community.”

National Farmers' Union (NFU) president Meurig Raymond said: “We look forward to working with Kerry McCarthy MP in her new role as shadow Defra Secretary.

“The NFU will be lobbying across the political spectrum on key issues in the farming sector with BPS payments, the agri-growth strategy and the implementation of the 25-year TB eradication plan being just three of them. And we hope to work closely and productively with Ms McCarthy to demonstrate our key asks of present and future Government.

“The food and farming industry employs more than 3.8million people and agriculture contributed nearly £10billion to the economy between 2008 and 2014. These are just two statistics which highlight the importance of backing British farming.

“We would like to invite Ms McCarthy to pledge her support to the NFU’s Back British Farming campaign and to attend the NFU fringe event at the Labour Party Conference. We look forward to discussing the development of a national food strategy and the issues raised in Jeremy Corbyn’s recent Rural Renewal report with her.”

On social media, her veganism has been highlighted as a hindrance to a position involved in the meat and dairy industry.

On Twitter, she said she was “very excited about new role as shadow environment secretary and “will set out vision soon”.

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