Henry Plumb, Baron Plumb
The Lord Plumb
|15th President of the European Parliament|
January 1987 – July 1989
|Preceded by||Pierre Pflimlin|
|Succeeded by||Enrique Barón Crespo|
|Member of the European Parliament |
7 June 1979 – 10 June 1999
|Preceded by||Constituency created|
|Succeeded by||Constituency abolished|
|Born||27 March 1925|
|Political party||Conservatives, European Democrats|
Charles Henry Plumb, Baron Plumb, DL, known as Henry, (born 27 March 1925) is a British farmer who went into politics as a leader of the National Farmers Union. He later became active in the Conservative Party and was elected as a Member of the European Parliament. He served as an MEP from 1979 to 1999, serving as President of the European Parliament from 1987 to 1989, the first and only Briton to hold the post.
Plumb's family were from Cheshire and had been in farming for several generations. His father farmed at Coleshill in Warwickshire, on which his son joined him in 1940. He took over running the farm in 1952 when his father died. The farm ran to 300 acres (1.2 km2) and consisted primarily of a dairy herd (200 pedigree Ayrshire cattle) with 70 breeding sows and 100 acres (0.40 km2) of grain.
National Farmers Union
After rising through the county branch, in 1965 Plumb was elected Vice-President of the National Farmers Union. Although only 40 years old he was considered for the Presidency, but had to settle for promotion to Deputy President in 1966. In the late 1960s Plumb was a member of the Northumberland Committee inquiring into the outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease, being the only working farmer on the committee. Towards the end of the committee's deliberations, a report from political correspondent J.W. Murray in Farmer and Stockbreeder claimed that Plumb had single-handedly persuaded the committee to recommend prohibiting the import of carcass meat from countries where foot-and-mouth was endemic.
President of the NFU
In January 1970 the incumbent President of the NFU Gwilym Williams failed to get the 80% support necessary to be re-elected, and Plumb was elected President of the NFU in his place. Plumb's term of office included British accession to the European Economic Community and its Common Agricultural Policy and Plumb negotiated for greater support for British agriculture; he stressed that Britain no longer had the economic power to bring cheap food prices. Plumb was, however, a strong supporter of British membership of the European Economic Community; he was considered as a possible director for the pro-market campaign in the 1975 referendum campaign and was described as one of its most indefatigable spokesmen. Plumb was awarded a knighthood in the Queen's Birthday Honours list in 1973.
Having joined the Conservative Party, he was elected Member of the European Parliament for the Cotswolds seat in 1979 and remained in the European Parliament until 1999, being President of the European Parliament 1987-1989. He was made a Life peer as Baron Plumb, of Coleshill in the County of Warwickshire on 6 April 1987. He retired from the House of Lords on 3 November 2017. He was also Chancellor of Coventry University between 1995 and 2007 and a founder of leading EU lobbying law firm Alber & Geiger.
2012 allegations of conflict of interest
In June 2012 the Bureau of Investigative Journalism and The Independent newspaper revealed how senior members of the House of Lords failed to disclose their business interests in a public inquiry. As of July 2012, Plumb's entry in the register of interests listed his only remunerated employment/profession as 'farming', despite his involvement with the Brussels-based lobbying firm Alber and Geiger since 2007. According to The Independent, Plumb insisted "he did not need to register his involvement because he had never been in employment, paid or unpaid by the firm".
- The Plumb Line: A Journey Through Agriculture and Politics by Henry Plumb. Greycoat Press. 2001. (Autobiography)
- Leonard Amey, "A fighter to lead the farmers", The Times, 30 January 1970, p. 10.
- "Probables And Possibles For N.F.U. Presidency", The Times, 29 December 1965, p. 4.
- "N.F.U. Choose New President", The Times, 9 April 1966, p. 6.
- "MP's motion on alleged farm report leak", The Times, 8 February 1969, p. 3.
- Leonard Amey, "President of NFU is ousted", The Times, 30 January 1970, p. 2.
- Leonard Amey, "Britain can no longer attract cheap food, NFU chief says", The Times, 23 January 1973, p. 11.
- David Butler and Uwe Kitzinger, "The 1975 Referendum", Macmillan, 1975, p. 73.
- Butler & Kitzinger p. 171.
- "Birthday Honours", The Times, 2 June 1973, p. 4.
- "No. 45984". The London Gazette (Supplement). 2 June 1973. p. 6473.
- "No. 46127". The London Gazette. 13 November 1973. p. 13485.
- "No. 50886". The London Gazette. 9 April 1987. p. 4745.
- "Register of Lords' Interests". parliament.uk. Archived from the original on 24 July 2012.
- "Chamber of secrets: House of Lords exposed". Website. Bureau of Investigative Journalism. Retrieved 24 June 2012.
- "Lord Charles Henry Plumb". Website. Alber & Geiger. Archived from the original on 30 September 2013. Retrieved 24 June 2012.
- "Undeclared interests: Peers fail to register business roles". Website. Bureau of Investigative Journalism. Retrieved 24 June 2012.