What is the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA)?

In the UK, the Prime Minister leads the government with the support of the Cabinet and ministers. Departments and their agencies are responsible for putting government policy into practice.

DEFRA stands for the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. It is responsible for policy and regulations on environmental, food and rural issues. DEFRA’s priorities are to grow the rural economy, improve the environment and safeguard animal and plant health.

What does the Shadow Environment team do?

Labour’s Shadow Environment team is handpicked by the Labour Leader, Jeremy Corbyn MP to hold the Tories to account and specifically, to scrutinise the policies of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) Secretary of State, Michael Gove MP.

What is Luke’s role in the Shadow Environment team?

Shortly after being elected in Summer 2017, Luke was promoted by Jeremy Corbyn to be the Parliamentary Private Secretary to Sue Hayman MP, the Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Following a mini-reshuffle in July 2018, Jeremy Corbyn announced  Luke was promoted to become Labour’s Shadow Fisheries Minister. Luke takes over from the Labour MP for Halifax, Holly Lynch MP, who is having a baby.

What does Luke do as Shadow Fisheries Minister?

Luke’s brief will include responsibility for Labour’s position on fishing as well as coastal communities, flooding, water and National Marine Parks.

As a Shadow Minister, that means Luke is responsible for speaking for Labour on key environmental issues such as air quality, as well as fishing. On his first time speaking at the front bench despatch box, Luke recently closed the debate on air quality in the House of Commons.

A big part of Luke’s role will be to travel round the UK’s fishing communities – just like when he took Sue Hayman MP, Labour’s Environment Secretary to Plymouth Fisheries.

It isn’t just fishing and flooding that Luke will be involved with as part of the Shadow Defra team he also works with David Drew MP, the Shadow Farming Minister, and Sue Hayman MP, the Shadow Secretary of State on other policy areas.

Luke was involved in writing Labour’s radical new animal welfare plan that will form part of the next Labour election manifesto. Find out more at https://labour.org.uk/issues/animal-welfare-plan/

Who is the Government’s Fishing Minister? 

The current Conservative Fishing Minister is Camborne and Redruth MP, George Eustice.

How does this help Luke’s campaigns for Plymouth?

Fishing is hugely important to Plymouth and to the far south west. Plymouth has world-class marine science and engineering skills as well as one of the most important fish markets in the country.

In November last year Luke launched the campaign to designate Plymouth Sound as the UK’s first National Marine Park. This campaign has now been backed by Plymouth City Council and UN Patron of the Oceans, Lewis Pugh, on his recent visit to Plymouth. After lobbying from Luke, the Labour Party adopted creating National Marine Parks as party policy.

What else has Luke already done in Parliament on this area? 

Since being elected, Luke has spoken in the House of Commons about fishing boat safety after the loss of two Plymouth trawlers in the last year where two people died.

Luke has called for more investment in lifejackets for fishermen, more quota for small fishing boats and for better enforcement of British fishing waters.

Luke has been a strong advocate of efforts to tackle plastic pollution and has backed the Plastic Free Plymouth initiative.

Luke is also co-chair of Labour Friends of Fishing, an open forum for discussion and debate on fishing in the Labour Party.

Who else is on Labour’s Shadow Environment team?

  • Sue Hayman MP for Workington is Shadow Secretary of State
  • David Drew MP for Stroud is Minister for Farming and Agriculture
  • Thangam Debbonaire MP for Bristol West is the team whip
  • Baroness Maggie Jones of Whitchurch
  • Lord Grantchester
“This new role will give me a bigger platform to talk up our city and fight on our issues.” Luke Pollard MP, Labour's Shadow Environment Minister
Luke Pollard MP, Labour
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