Richard is the UK Conservative spokesman and member of the Agriculture and Rural Affairs, Budgets and Budgetary Control committees. He is also a member of the Delegation for relations with the countries of Southeast Asia and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
As a member of the Budgets committee he has been closely involved in developing the innovative European Fund for Strategic Investments and negotiating the EU’s next Multi-Financial Framework which set spending parameters from 2014 to 2020. He has consistently called for the EU to cut back spending plans in line with the austerity measures being applied across member states in response to the economic crisis. He has also called for a greater scrutiny role for the European Parliament to monitor performance outcomes of EU spending to ensure greater value added for the taxpayer.
As a member of the Agriculture and Rural Affairs committee, Richard has been fighting for CAP simplification and will be campaigning for far-reaching reform in the mid-term review of the CAP in 2017. He believes that the Agriculture Commissioner, Phil Hogan, as part of the European Commission’s Better Regulation agenda should make every effort to simplify and improve the regulatory environment within which our farmers operate.
He has previously held the roles of Leader of the UK Conservatives in the European Parliament, Deputy Leader, Assistant Whip and Chief Whip.
As well as having a long-term interest in politics, Richard’s life has heavily revolved around cows. He worked extensively in Canada and New Zealand returning as a dairy farmer in East Sussex for over thirty years and during this time developed his own business processing and retailing dairy products. Carrying on this theme, Richard became a founder director and was for some years the Chairman of United Milk Plc.
He has been the chairman of NFU Corporate, the organisation that represents Britain’s farmer controlled agri-business and co-operatives in London and Brussels. He has also been a member of the Minister of Agriculture’s food chain advisory committee.
Richard was a candidate in the 1997 General Election (North Devon constituency) and also the 1999 European election (South East region). Richard has been a Conservative Association chairman and has also served on the Sussex County Executive.
A particular interest of Richard’s is education and he was chairman of Plumpton College in East Sussex for 15 years as well as serving on several public bodies in the education sector. His commitment to bettering education and in particular vocational learning plays an important role in Richard’s parliamentary work.
Richard was born in 1947 in Folkestone, Kent and he is married to Sally. They have three daughters. He was educated at The King’s School, Canterbury and studied agriculture and management at Seale-Hayne College in Devon. His interests include music, theatre, sport, aviation and countryside pursuits.