NFU is keen to work with new North Shropshire MP on agricultural issues

The National Farmers' Union has congratulated the new North Shropshire MP, with farmers keen to engage with her about industry business.

Malcolm Roberts, NFU regional board chairman
Malcolm Roberts, NFU regional board chairman

Malcolm Roberts, National Farmers' Union (NFU) regional board chairman, who farms livestock and arable at Oswestry, welcomed new Liberal Democrat MP Helen Morgan to her role.

She took the seat from the Conservatives, one they have held for almost its entire existence, following a by-election this week, overturning a Tory majority of around 23,000.

Mr Roberts said: “We are pleased to welcome new North Shropshire MP Helen Morgan and congratulate her following her election victory.

“The NFU will continue to work across all parties to benefit county agriculture and horticulture, but we are very much looking forward to discussing sector issues with Ms Morgan very soon.

“She said she is ready to listen, to not take her constituents for granted and a priority during her campaign was ‘to be a full-time local MP for North Shropshire’ – that is very welcome.

“As a rural area with an economy underpinned by farming it is essential that she understands the issues facing our industry and backs Oswestry and north Shropshire farming from the off.

“Great pressures remain on some of our family farms, with rising input costs for all, and there is much we need to look at and discuss.

“I also hope to see her at Oswestry Show on August 6 next year.”

The by-election followed the resignation of Owen Paterson, the MP for North Shropshire since 1997.

Ms Morgan took 17,957 votes and won the election by 5,925 – Conservative candidate Dr Neil Shastri-Hurst garnered support from 12,032 people and Labour's Ben Wood 3,686.

There were 14 candidates in the by-election – Duncan Kerr, who stood for the Green Party, received 1,738 votes, Alan Hope, leader of the Official Monster Raving Loony Party 118 votes, while independent candidate Yolande Kenward, received three.

Edward Garratt, Shropshire NFU county adviser, said: “I would like to congratulate Ms Morgan on her appointment and we look forward to working with her at such a critical time for Britain’s food and farming industry.

“We will seek a meeting as a matter of priority to discuss the pressing issues currently facing Shropshire farmers and growers.

“What is happening in Parliament today will shape agricultural policy for generations to come and I am keen to stress the importance to her of having British food production at the heart of government policy, alongside measures to protect and enhance our cherished countryside and environment.

“Shropshire farmers and growers are ambitious, innovative and up for the challenge, but we need to see support for our businesses and our high animal welfare and environmental standards.

“We would also like to thank former MP Owen Paterson for his support for Shropshire farming over many decades, as a constituency MP and as Defra Secretary of State.

“We wish him all the very best for the future.”

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