Board Election Profiles
Set out below are the three candidates who met the qualifying requirements and as such are elected unopposed at the Countryside Alliance at the 2018 Annual General Meeting. Read their full biographies below.
Since 2012, I have been joint secretary of the Fitzwilliam (Milton) Hunt. In the past, I have shot game (pheasant and ducks) in driven shoots, as well as competing up to County level in clay pigeon shooting (English Skeet). I am interested in practical conservation on my own land. I have been providing information and support to different parts of the hunting community on the use of social media to promote and safeguard our sport.
I am a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales and hold an MA from Cambridge University (Land Economy). I am former partner in Deloitte, the international accountancy audit and financial advisory firm. I have extensive commercial and charitable board experience including The Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire, The Office for Legal Complaints (Legal Ombudsman Service) and The National Employment Savings Trust (NEST) Corporation. Details of public posts include: Chairman of the Federation of European Accountants (FEE) money laundering committee and for the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW).
For some 10 years in total I was Countryside Alliance County Chairman for Cambridgeshire, and before that secretary to the County Committee. I have been actively involved in country sports and the Countryside Alliance for 25 years and for the last 6 years have been joint secretary of the Fitzwilliam (Milton) Hunt. I believe this background blended with my professional knowledge and experience, board experience and public policy experience will enable me to provide strong support as well as strong and constructive challenge to the Countryside Alliance executive. As a hunt secretary in increasingly challenging times, I understand at first hand the threats to our sports and way of life. I have been active over the past year in developing ways to counter these threats including use of website and social media presence, intelligence gathering and deployments in the field. In my professional life I have had extensive experience in policy development, liaison with government and supranational bodies, legal strategies, information security and risk management and I believe these skills will be of value to the Countryside Alliance.
I live in the countryside and am passionate about maintenance of our farming and other rural business and communities as well as our sports and way of life. We need to learn to use technology and new communication methods far more effectively to make our case and maintain our position. This needs to be both in a positive way to communicate with our people and the general public, and strategically to mitigate and counter threats against us from those in opposition. I believe my professional skills and practical experience fit me well to serve our interest.
Throughout my Parliamentary career I have always taken part in or contributed to debates on rural issues and supported the rural economy and communities. As MP for Stockton South I had regular contact with members and supporters in the region, as well as with those in North Yorkshire through my relations with a number of hunts and personal friends.
I am Executive Chairman of Hume Brophy public affairs and hold a number of political consultancies acting for private clients here and abroad. I was MP for Stockton South between 2010 and 2017 and a Minister in both DCLG (Northern Powerhouse) and DFID where I was the Africa Minister. Before entering Parliament I was a solicitor.
The great challenge of rural communities has always been to make a coherent argument that resonates with a largely urban media and Parliament. As a relative ‘outsider’ I believe I can bring professional expertise as well as objectivity to an organisation that is already well respected in political circles.
In the 20 plus years that I have been a Director of the BFSS/Countryside Alliance my efforts have been primarily focused on the financial and business side of the organisations. The finances are now in much better shape, and there is the opportunity to build a long term sustainable future – something that in my view is fundamental to the survival of country sports in an ever more urban society.
More immediately, Hunting has new political challenges for which different strategies and tactics are required; Shooting has a number of serious political threats against which the Countryside Alliance is starting campaigns and lobbying – but we need to get all parts of the shooting community behind the Countryside Alliance’s leadership role. And, having just invested in digital campaigning, we need to ensure that we deliver the results. There’s a lot to do.