Rebecca Pow

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Rebecca Pow

Official portrait of Rebecca Pow crop 2.jpg
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State
for the Arts, Tourism and Heritage
Assumed office
23 May 2019
Prime MinisterTheresa May
Preceded byMichael Ellis
Member of Parliament
for Taunton Deane
Assumed office
8 May 2015
Preceded byJeremy Browne
Majority15,887 (25.2%)
Personal details
Born (1960-10-10) 10 October 1960 (age 58)
Somerset, United Kingdom
Political partyConservative
WebsiteOfficial website

Rebecca Faye Clark, known as Rebecca Pow,[1] (born 10 October 1960) is a British Conservative Party politician serving as Under-Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport since 2019, and has served as Member of Parliament (MP) for Taunton Deane since 2015.

Pow was elected as the Member of Parliament (MP) for Taunton Deane in May 2015 with a majority of just under 15,500. She was re-elected in 2017, with a vote share that increased by 4.3% but a majority that slipped from 26.8% to 25.2%.[2] She was appointed to the May Government as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport on 23 May 2019.

Education[edit]

After attending Priston village school Rebecca continued her education at La Sainte Union Convent in Bath. After a gap year she gained a BSc (Hons) 2.1 from Wye College, University of London, in Rural Environment Studies.

Personal life[edit]

Pow was brought up on a family farm in Inglesbatch near Bath, working on the farm throughout her teenage years. She was an active member of both Bath and Taunton Young Farmers Club where she met her husband, Charles Clark. They have been married for 27 years and have 3 children.

Pre Parliamentary career[edit]

Rebecca was a Governor at Thurlbear C of E school for 10 years and a Parish Councillor in her local village, Stoke St Mary.

She had a career in radio and television, including working for HTV in Bristol and BBC Radio 4. Rebecca also ran the Taste of Somerset, the first independent initiative for local food and drink producers which ultimately became The Taste of the West. In 2003 Rebecca took voluntary redundancy from ITV West to set up Pow Productions, specialising in communications and PR focusing on rural, environmental, farming, food and gardening in particular.

Political career[edit]

Pow speaking at the 2014 Conservative Party Conference

Standing for election to Parliament for the first time in May 2015, Pow became the MP for Taunton Deane, gaining the seat from the sitting Liberal Democrat MP Jeremy Browne with a majority of 15,491 votes (26.8% of the vote). In July 2016, Pow was made Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) to Gavin Barwell MP, Minister for Housing, Planning and Minister for London in the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG). Pow supported the Conservative Government's moves to cap welfare, improve education and opportunities for young people, control immigration, deal with the deficit and enable people to be given the right climate to get on. She described herself as "a traditional Conservative with a twist of the contemporary with [her] own added touch of green!"[3] Pow was selected by a capacity audience at an Open Primary held in Taunton in July 2013. It was the first time a candidate had been selected for the constituency in this way, with the audience voting. She was also the first female Conservative Member of Parliament that Taunton Deane had ever had representing them. She declared that she would vote Remain in the 2016 referendum on the UK's membership of the EU.[4]

Pow was previously a parish councillor in Stoke St Mary and trustee of the Somerset Wildlife Trust. After working for the National Farmers Union, she became a journalist specialising in environment, farming and gardening and has reported for BBC, ITV and Channel 4.[5][6][7][8] She stepped down as vice-president of Somerset Wildlife Trust in June 2018, following an online petition criticising her support for badger culling.[9]

During the 2015–17 parliament, Pow sat on the Environmental Audit Select Committee and Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee.[10] She declared that she would vote Remain in the 2016 referendum on the UK's membership of the EU.[4]

After Theresa May called the 2017 general election, Pow announced she would seek reelection as MP for Taunton Deane. On 8th June 2017, she was re-elected as the Member of Parliament for Taunton Dean. Whilst her vote share increased by 4.8% the local Lib Dem candidate's vote increased by 6.3% - so Pow's majority slipped from 26.8% to 25.2%.

Pow received heavy criticism for claiming during the 2017 Budget debate that people in Taunton have "thousands of extra pounds in their pockets". This was disputed by the majority of her constituents and many believe she was out of touch with real people.[11][12]

In 2018, Pow was awarded a Green Heart Hero Award by The Climate Coalition, a coalition of over 100 charities and community groups across the UK, for being the "Greenest New MP" for her environmental work.[13] However, she was criticised for her stances on fracking, the destruction of ancient woodland for HS2, and the vast amount of new homes being built in her constituency. [14] Pow serves as a Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) to Rt Hon Michael Gove MP, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

In May 2019, it emerged that Pow had falsely claimed parliamentary expenses through means of an 'accommodation uplift' for her children that she was not entitled to.


References[edit]

  1. ^ "No. 61230". The London Gazette. 18 May 2015. p. 9125.
  2. ^ "Taunton Deane". BBC News. Retrieved 7 May 2015.
  3. ^ "About Me".
  4. ^ a b "European Referendum". Rebecca Pow. Retrieved 23 June 2016.
  5. ^ "Election Taunton Deane result: Conservative Rebecca Pow". Western Daily Press. 8 May 2015. Retrieved 9 May 2015.
  6. ^ "Rebecca Pow". Conservative Party. Retrieved 9 May 2015.
  7. ^ Wright, Oliver (6 May 2014). "Why it's harder than it looks to evict a Liberal Democrat MP". Independent. Retrieved 9 May 2015.
  8. ^ "Rebecca Pow". Garden Media Guild. Retrieved 9 May 2015.
  9. ^ "Taunton's MP and Michael Eavis resign as vice presidents of wildlife trust amid badger cull row". Somerset County Gazette.
  10. ^ "Rebecca Pow MP". UK Parliament. Retrieved 10 October 2015.
  11. ^ Linham, Laura (24 November 2017). "Here's why everyone is mad at Taunton Deane MP Rebecca Pow for comments she made about the budget". Somerset Live. Retrieved 24 November 2017.
  12. ^ Williams, Zoe (27 November 2017). "Such is the poverty of Tory ideas that they deny poverty even exists". The Guardian. Retrieved 9 April 2018.
  13. ^ "Green Heart Hero Awards". The Climate Coalition. Retrieved 9 April 2018.
  14. ^ "LETTER: Is MP Rebecca Pow really that green?". Somerset County Gazette.

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Jeremy Browne
Member of Parliament
for Taunton Deane

2015–present
Incumbent