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. He is Chairman of the UK's independent Committee on Climate Change. He also chairs the sustainability consultancy Sancroft International, recycler Valpak, GLOBE International – the Global Legislators Organisation for a Balanced Environment, the Association of Professional Financial Advisers and Veolia Water UK. He is a non-executive director of Veolia Voda, the Catholic Herald and the Castle Trust – a mortgage and investment firm. 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.
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.
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.
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", 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, and Friends of the Earth described his as "the best Environment Secretary we've ever had".
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. He was also instrumental in the passing of the Climate Change Act in 2008.
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.
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.
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.
- 1966: When the Coloured People Come, by John Gummer, Oldbourne, ISBN 0-356-01199-2
- 1969: To Church with Enthusiasm, by John Gummer
- 1971: The Permissive Society: Fact or Fantasy?, by John Selwyn Gummer, Cassell, ISBN 0-304-93821-1
- 1974: The Christian Calendar, by Leonard W. Cowie and John Selwyn Gummer, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, ISBN 0-297-76804-2
- 1987: Faith in Politics: Which Way Should Christians Vote?, by John Gummer, Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, ISBN 0-281-04299-3
- 1990: Christianity and Conservatism, by John Gummer
- 1997: Green Buildings Pay, edited by B. W. Edwards, foreword by John Gummer, Spon Press, ISBN 0-419-22730-X
- 1998: From Earth Summit to Local Agenda 21: Working Towards Sustainable Development, edited by William Laffery, Katarina Eckerberg, William M. Laffery, foreword by John Gummer, Earthscan Publications, ISBN 1-85383-547-1
- 1998: Precision Agriculture: Practical Applications of New Technologies, by John Gummer and Peter Botschek, The International Fertiliser Society, ISBN 0-85310-062-4
- Weekly columnist in Estates Gazette magazine
- Independent 1995 "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."
- "John Gummer: Beef eater". BBC News Online. 11 October 2000.
- "Waving goodbye to Parliament". BBC News Online. 7 May 2010.
- "UK Parliament – Early Day Motions By Details". Edmi.parliament.uk. 2005-05-24. Retrieved 2010-04-29.
- Quality of Life Challenge
- 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.
- House of Lords Debates 21 June 2010 v 719 c 1159
- "John Gummer MP, Suffolk Coastal". TheyWorkForYou. Retrieved 2010-04-29.
- Guardian Unlimited Politics – Ask Aristotle: John Gummer MP
- TheyWorkForYou.com – John Gummer MP
- Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by John Gummer
- BBC article on the burger / BSE story
- Video of BSE story from 1990
- Castle Trust
|Parliament of the United Kingdom|
|Member of Parliament for Lewisham West
|Member of Parliament for Eye
|New constituency||Member of Parliament for Suffolk Coastal
|Chairman of the Conservative Party
|Minister of State for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food
|Secretary of State for the Environment
as Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions