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Former farmer to head Defra watchdog

The new chair of the parliamentary committee which acts as a watchdog for Defra is Neil Parish, Conservative MP for Tiverton and Honiton.

Parish was the sole nominee to head the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee (Efra) so is elected unopposed.

Other committees with unopposed chairs are Communities and Local Government (Clive Betts, Labour) and Decc (Angus MacNeil, SNP). The results of elections for other committees will be announced on 18 June. They include the Environmental Audit Committee for which Labour’s shadow minister Barry Gardiner is a nominee.

Neil Parish

Parish, a former farmer, said: “Over the past five years, I have enjoyed being a member of the committee and look forward to helping make sure that issues concerning our countryside, environment, flooding and food security are properly dealt with.

“I also look forward very much to working with parliamentary colleagues across the parties to contribute to shaping policy in those areas.”

Parish replaces fellow Tory MP Anne McIntosh, who left Parliament at the last election having been de-selected by her constituency party.

One of Efra’s final actions in the last session of Parliament was to criticise Defra for a lack of transparency on its budget and limited actions to improve staff morale.

In October 2014 it published a critique of the waste management sector.

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