John Gummer

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The Right Honourable
The Lord Deben
PC
Shadow Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions
In office
2 May 1997 – 11 June 1997
Leader John Major
Preceded by John Prescott (Environment)
Succeeded by Norman Fowler
Secretary of State for the Environment
In office
27 May 1993 – 2 May 1997
Prime Minister John Major
Preceded by Michael Howard
Succeeded by John Prescott (Environment, Transport and the Regions)
Minister of State for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food
In office
24 July 1989 – 27 May 1993
Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher
John Major
Preceded by John MacGregor
Succeeded by Gillian Shephard
Chairman of the Conservative Party
In office
11 June 1983 – 2 September 1985
Leader Margaret Thatcher
Preceded by Cecil Parkinson
Succeeded by Norman Tebbit
Member of Parliament
for Suffolk Coastal
Eye (1979–1983)
In office
3 May 1979 – 6 May 2010
Preceded by Harwood Harrison
Succeeded by Therese Coffey
Member of Parliament
for Lewisham West
In office
18 June 1970 – 28 February 1974
Preceded by James Dickens
Succeeded by Christopher Price
Personal details
Born (1939-11-26) 26 November 1939 (age 74)
Brompton, London, England
Political party Conservative
Spouse(s) Penelope Gardner
Alma mater Selwyn College, Cambridge
Religion Roman Catholicism (Formerly Church of England)

John Selwyn Gummer, Baron Deben, PC (Stockport, 26 November 1939) is a British Conservative Party politician, formerly Member of Parliament (MP) for Suffolk Coastal, now a member of the House of Lords.[1] He is Chairman of the UK's independent Committee on Climate Change. He also chairs the sustainability consultancy Sancroft International, recycler Valpak,[2] GLOBE International – the Global Legislators Organisation for a Balanced Environment, the Association of Professional Financial Advisers and Veolia Water UK.[3] He is a non-executive director of Veolia Voda, the Catholic Herald and the Castle Trust – a mortgage and investment firm.[4] He is also a trustee of the ocean conservation charity, Blue Marine Foundation.

John Gummer left the House of Commons at the 2010 general election and was appointed to the House of Lords as Lord Deben.

Early life[edit]

Son of a Church of England minister, Gummer is the brother of Peter Gummer, Baron Chadlington, one of the foremost players in the British PR industry. He studied at the King's School, Rochester before going on to read History at Selwyn College, Cambridge. Whilst there, as chairman of the Cambridge University Conservative Association and later President of the Cambridge Union Society, he was a member of what became known as the Cambridge Mafia – a group of future Conservative Cabinet ministers, including Leon Brittan, Michael Howard, Kenneth Clarke, Norman Lamont, and Norman Fowler.

Public life[edit]

Elections[edit]

First elected in the 1970 general election, where he defeated sitting MP James Dickens in Lewisham West, Gummer had previously contested Greenwich in 1964 and 1966. He was unseated in February 1974 by Labour's Christopher Price, and failed to regain the seat in the second election that year.

In 1979, he returned to the House of Commons, securing Eye in Suffolk, following the retirement of veteran Tory Harwood Harrison. He held the constituency and its successor Suffolk Coastal until 2010 when he left the House of Commons.

In government[edit]

Gummer was Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture in Edward Heath's government, before being appointed Conservative Party Vice-Chairman – a position he held until the government's fall in 1974. Following his return to the House in the 1979 election, he held various government posts and was Conservative Party Chairman from 1983 to 1985 – an office he held at the time of the Brighton hotel bombing during the 1984 Conservative Party conference. He joined the cabinet in 1989 as Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, moving to become Secretary of State for the Environment under John Major in 1993. As Environment Secretary he introduced the Environment Act 1995 and the Landfill Tax, which was the first such environmental tax in the UK. Known for having strong environmental credentials, BBC Wildlife magazine described him as the "Environment Secretary against which all others are judged"[citation needed], placing him as one of its top ten environmental heroes. In 1997, he was also awarded a Medal of Honour by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds[citation needed], and Friends of the Earth described his as "the best Environment Secretary we've ever had"[citation needed].[5]

He had responsibility for food safety during the BSE scare in 1989–90,[6] and worked to calm the public by eating a beefburger with his four-year-old daughter at the height of the crisis.[7][8]

In opposition[edit]

Following the 1997 Labour election victory he became a backbencher and chairman of the All-Party Group on Architecture and Planning. During this time he actively pursued environmental causes, introducing an Early Day Motion on Climate Change to Parliament along with Michael Meacher and Norman Baker.[9] He was also instrumental in the passing of the Climate Change Act in 2008.

Because of his strong environmental credentials, in 2005 David Cameron asked Gummer to chair the Quality of Life Policy Group with Zac Goldsmith as his deputy.[10]

Along with many MPs, in 2009 Gummer attracted attention after claiming £36,000 for gardening over 4 years, as an parliamentary expense. Although the claims were approved by the Parliamentary Fees Office, rules state claims should only be made on expenses essential to parliamentary duties.[11]

Peerage[edit]

It was announced that Gummer would be awarded a peerage in the 2010 Dissolution Honours List. On 21 June he was created a life peer as Baron Deben, of Winston in the County of Suffolk, and introduced in the House of Lords the same day, supported by his brother, Lord Chadlington, and the composer Lord Lloyd-Webber.[12]

As a pro-European moderate, Lord Deben (as he had become) was a supporter of Kenneth Clarke's leadership bids.[13]

In September 2012, Lord Deben was confirmed as Chairman of the UK's independent Committee on Climate Change, succeeding Adair Turner. The committee advises the UK Government on setting and meeting carbon budgets and on preparing for the impacts of climate change.

Personal life[edit]

Lord Deben has been married to Penelope Gardner since 1977, and lives in Suffolk. They have four children, including Ben Gummer, who has been MP for Ipswich since the 2010 general election.

He became a member of the Catholic Church in 1992, although had previously been a practicing Anglican and a member of the General Synod of the Church of England.

Bibliography[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Castle, Stephen (1995-08-27). "Profile: John Gummer: Not as daft as he acts He can charm and he's lucky, so what holds him back?". The Independent. Archived from the original on 2014-03-14. "JOHN SELWYN GUMMER was born into a church family in Stockport in 1939. His father, Canon Selwyn Gummer (the sons were given his Christian name), was a vicar there, later becoming Canon of Rochester Cathedral. They remain close: Canon Gummer lives with the Gummers and invariably appears in the Commons to hear environment questions. A younger brother, Peter, is now chairman of Shandwick, one of the world's largest public relations firms and a paid-up member of the Tory great and good." 
  2. ^ "Company Structure". Valpak. 2014-03-16. Archived from the original on 2014-03-16. Retrieved 2014-03-16. "Since then we have expanded our services to cover wider areas of sustainability including waste management and recycling, carbon management, energy management and international compliance. … Board Member Position The Rt Hon John Gummer Lord Deben" 
  3. ^ "Our Board". Veolia. 2011. Archived from the original on 2011-10-07. Retrieved 2014-03-16. "Our Board The Rt Hon. John Gummer, Lord Deben, Chairman of the Veolia Water UK board" 
  4. ^ "About Us Who we are". Castle Trust. Archived from the original on 2013-04-04. Retrieved 2014-03-16. "Non-Executive Directors … The Rt Hon. John Gummer, Lord Deben" 
  5. ^ Murray, James (2012-07-06). "John Gummer picked as favourite to head climate change committee". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 2014-03-16. 
  6. ^ "John Gummer: Beef eater". BBC News Online. 11 October 2000. 
  7. ^ "Waving goodbye to Parliament". BBC News Online. 7 May 2010. 
  8. ^ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0VAyCXKmPGM
  9. ^ "UK Parliament – Early Day Motions By Details". Edmi.parliament.uk. 2005-05-24. Retrieved 2010-04-29. 
  10. ^ Quality of Life Challenge
  11. ^ Winnett, Robert (10 May 2009). "John Gummer claimed more than £9,000 a year for gardening on MPs' expenses". London: The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 6 May 2010. 
  12. ^ House of Lords Debates 21 June 2010 v 719 c 1159
  13. ^ [1]
  14. ^ "John Gummer MP, Suffolk Coastal". TheyWorkForYou. Retrieved 2010-04-29. 

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
James Dickens
Member of Parliament for Lewisham West
19701974
Succeeded by
Christopher Price
Preceded by
Harwood Harrison
Member of Parliament for Eye
19791983
Constituency abolished
New constituency Member of Parliament for Suffolk Coastal
19832010
Succeeded by
Therese Coffey
Political offices
Preceded by
Cecil Parkinson
Chairman of the Conservative Party
1983–1985
Succeeded by
Norman Tebbit
Paymaster-General
1984–1985
Succeeded by
Kenneth Clarke
Preceded by
John MacGregor
Minister of State for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food
1989–1993
Succeeded by
Gillian Shephard
Preceded by
Michael Howard
Secretary of State for the Environment
1993–1997
Succeeded by
John Prescott
as Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions