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NFU election race under way - who is in the frame?

Meurig Raymond is facing possible leadership challenge after his deputy and vice presidents were both nominated to stand for the NFU’s top job. Candidates are also emerging for the other two leadership roles.


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Meurig Raymond could face a leadership challenge in February
Meurig Raymond could face a leadership challenge in February

NFU president Meurig Raymond will learn after Christmas whether he faces a challenge to his position from the other two members of the NFU’s leadership team.

 

Deputy president Minette Batters and vice president Guy Smith have both received county branch nominations to stand for president in the February NFU officeholder elections, although they have not yet confirmed whether they will stand.

 

All three officeholders were elected to their posts in February 2013.

 

Mrs Minette Batters has received strong support in her native South West, with nominations for the top job from Cornwall, Devon, Somerset, Gloucestershire and her native Wiltshire branch. She also received nominations for the vice president role.

 

She said: “It is a strong mandate from the South West. I’ll definitely stand for deputy and I will decide about running for president after Christmas.

 

“It is a big decision. It is it to listen to the membership and see where we are at.”

 

Mr Smith was nominated for president by his Essex county branch, which also nominated him for the vice president.

 

“I’ll make my mind up in the New Year,” he said.

 

Mr Raymond, who was Peter Kendall’s deputy for eight years before becoming president in 2013, has always made it clear he intended to stand for a second two-year term.

 

He said he had received nominations from branches across the country and welcomed the prospect of a challenge.

 

“It is good for the industry and good for the NFU, democracy at its best. Everybody knows it is difficult out there at the moment – there is a lot going on,” he said.

Also in the frame

Other names, some of which have featured in NFU elections before, are coming forward and will be waiting with interest to see if a leadership battle opens up the race for the deputy and vice president roles.

 

Yorkshire farmer Rosey Dunn said she had received nominations and intended to stand for the vice and deputy president posts.

 

Devon farmer Anthony Rew, who like Mrs Dunn has taken part in previous elections, has received nominations for the vice president role.

 

NFU Livestock chairman Charles Sercombe is weighing up whether to stand, after being nominated by his county branch for the vice and deputy roles.

 

Other potential runners include Hertfordshire farmer and former Eblex chairman Stuart Roberts and Cumbrian farmer Alistair Mackintosh.

 

Thomas Binns, who came a close second to Mr Smith in the race for vice president last year, said he would not be standing this time round.

 

Somerset farmer James Small has received nominations but has decided not to run in 2016, although he is already considering standing in 2018.

 

Gloucestershire farmer Rob Harrison revealed he was standing down from his position as dairy board chairman in March and would not be entering the leadership elections.


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The  NFU Officeholder elections

  • Nominations for the three officeholders positions close on January 15.
  • This will be followed by hustings involving all the candidates across the NFU’s regions in England and Wales in late January.
  • The NFU’s council will elect the officeholder teams at the end of the NFU conference and AGM in Birmingham on February 24.
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