Nominations close for Environmental Audit Committee Chair election - 2016

The nominations for Chair of the Environmental Audit Committee ran from 25 January to 8 February and the ballot will be on Wednesday 10 February from 10am to 1.30pm. On this page you can find the full list of nominees. The Committee Chair will be a member of the Labour Party.

Image of Mary Creagh MP

Nominated by (own party)

Karin Smyth, Diana Johnson, Angela Smith, Toby Perkins, Stephen Timms, Catherine McKinnell, Mike Kane, Derek Twigg, Mr Ben Bradshaw, Mr Jim Cunningham, Yvette Cooper, Fabian Hamilton, Christina Rees, Alison McGovern, Caroline Flint

Nominated by (other parties)

Neil Carmichael, Mr Bernard Jenkin, Mr Richard Bacon, Graham Stuart, Karen Lumley


I am grateful to colleagues from across the political spectrum who have already offered support for my candidacy as Chair of the Environmental Audit Committee. I am a creative thinker and rigorous scrutineer whose passion for a greener government and a greener UK makes me ideally placed for this role.

My experience:

  • Breadth of policy experience from 5 years in the Shadow Cabinet, leading on Environment, Transport and International Development 
  • Attended the COP21 Paris conference and made the case for the UK’s leadership on carbon reduction
  • Current member of the Environmental Audit Committee member, probing into the sale of the Green Investment Bank, Volkswagen emissions scandal, and flooding
  • Long-standing interest in conflict prevention and resolution; visited Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo and Burundi as Chair of the APPG on Genocide Prevention
  • Visited Lebanon and South Sudan to develop policy to help refugees displaced by the Syrian and Sudanese wars
  • Current Member of NATO Parliamentary Assembly

My achievements

  • Forced the coalition government to abandon plans to sell off the forests
  • Pushed the government to partially reverse cuts to flood defence spending
  • Exposed regulatory failings during the horsemeat scandal
  • Instrumental in proposing the ban on use of wild animals in circuses
  • Led the campaign on microchipping dogs 
  • Successfully pressed the government to produce the first national cycling strategy

My pledges:

  • A clear focus on how the UK can swiftly to a low carbon economy and export British know-how abroad
  • Help government to create clear measurements for how the UK should apply the UN’s new Sustainable Development Goals and COP21 commitments to tackle poverty, environmental degradation and climate change
  • Work across government for a more sustainable, less resource-intensive economy
  • A strong facilitator and collaborator who will utilise the talents of the whole select committee membership

My background:

  • MP for Wakefield since 2005
  • 5 years in the Shadow Cabinet, 3 of them shadowing DEFRA
  • 7 years lecturing in entrepreneurship at Cranfield School of Management
  • 7 years as a councillor, including of Leader of Islington Labour Group
  • 5 years working in Brussels at European Parliament and European Youth Forum
  • Attended local comprehensive school in Coventry; MA in Modern Languages from Oxford; MSc from London School of Economics

I hope you feel able to give me your first preference vote on Wednesday 10th February.

Image of Geraint Davies MP

Nominated by (own party)

Meg Hillier, Stephen Kinnock, Liz McInnes, Mrs Sharon Hodgson, Bill Esterson, Mr David Hanson, Lyn Brown, Wes Streeting, Sir Alan Meale, Kate Osamor, Mr Steve Reed, Ruth Cadbury, Angela Rayner, Joan Ryan, Helen Goodman

Nominated by (other parties)

Dr Sarah Wollaston, Stephen Metcalfe, Sir William Cash, John Mc Nally, Jonathan Edwards


Role as Chair

  • A chair who speaks with independence of mind supported by the whole Committee can best serve public interest and Parliament
  • The views of individual members must be aired and respected to achieve consensus but reports must be grounded in evidence and science.
  • Ensure scrutiny of the Executive and witnesses from all perspectives to deliver credible, resilient recommendations.
  • I am prepared to speak against the views of Parliament and my party if they differ from the settled view of the Committee.
  • I have "walked the walk" of sustainable development - in my roles adapting Wales to climate change, as Council Leader and in industry.
  • My only agenda is to ensure the Committee scrutinises the Government to help Britain take leadership towards sustainability.

Committee Focus – Sustainable Development & Risk Management

  • UN Sustainable Development goals and our COP21 Paris obligations set the context for Britain to take leadership.
  • The EU has enabled British scientists to take world leadership on the environment, e.g. the world ban on CFCs to safeguard the ozone layer.
  • We must evaluate the environmental costs and benefits of EU membership and whether we have more influence in the EU or out.
  • The future programme must be decided by the whole Committee. Suggestions include flood management, soil, emissions & air quality, shale gas, TTIP&COP21, neonicotinoids & bee populations, nuclear sustainability.
  • Evidence-based recommendations are set in a changing, uncertain world requiring judgements about risk management with stakeholder consultation.
  • E.g. flood risk management requires councils, farmers and industry to help shape holistic approaches to resilience, land management and defences.
  • I will collaborate with PAC, transport, EFRA, DECC and devolved administrations.

Personal Background – "Walking the Walk"

  • Comprehensive schooling. Mathematics then economics at Oxford.
  • 15yrs in international manufacturing and SMEs.
  • Leader of London’s largest council; pioneered the UK’s busiest tram system.
  • Chair of Flood Risk Management– adapting Wales to climate change for the Environment Agency, investing in flood defences for Welsh Government
  • MP Croydon Central 1997-2005, Swansea West 2010-16
  • Select committees – currently Environmental Audit & European Scrutiny previously PAC & Welsh Affairs. Chaired Environment, Transport & Regions Dept. Committee
  • Council of Europe (Environment & Energy Committee)
  • Speaker’s Panel.
  • Attended COP21.
  • Cross-party:  Visteon Pensioners Campaign with Stephen Metcalfe; lead two BBBC debates on parliamentary scrutiny of international trade agreements.
  • APPGs (VC Protect Our Waves, VC Flood Prevention, Chair Speech & Language difficulties)

It’s What’s Right Not Who’s Right 

  • Population growth, urbanisation, demographic change and inequality are drivers of water, waste, pollution and natural resource depletion.
  • Climate change will drive flooding, migration, food & water shortages and conflict.
  • We have more fossil fuels than climate change can tolerate and less uranium ore than needed for sustainable nuclear future. We must harness the sun and not evaluate long term renewables costs against current oil prices.
  • It’s what’s right not who’s right that counts. We must play our part for the UK in the big picture.
  • I ask for your first preference (otherwise second) supporting me as Chair to help Parliament shape a more sustainable future.

Image of Chris Evans MP

Nominated by (own party)

John Mann, Mr Stephen Hepburn, Tom Blenkinsop, Andy McDonald, Yasmin Qureshi, Frank Field, Mary Glindon, Helen Jones, Gerald Jones, Robert Flello, Gareth Thomas, Paul Flynn, Stephen Pound, Liz Kendall, Dr Rupa Huq

Nominated by (other parties)

Christopher Pincher, Craig Tracey


I am seeking support in the election for the Chair of the Environmental Audit Select Committee which will be held on Wednesday 10th February following the resignation of my good friend and colleague, Huw Irranca-Davies.

This Committee has a proven track record in holding government departments and non-departmental bodies to account for their targets and objectives on sustainable development and environmental protection. Already the committee has demonstrated its impact with its investigations into the VW emissions scandal, Heathrow and Vehicle Excise Duty. I believe that I have the skills and ability to build on the good work instigated by Huw.
Since being elected to Parliament in 2010, I have championed green industries as a way to rebalance our economy and promote social well-being. I have spoken out passionately on environmental issues such as climate change, fracking and the rural economy. In the last Parliament, I was part of the Shadow DEFRA team gaining an invaluable insight into a wide range of environmental issues and gained a clear understanding of the viewpoints and frustrations of other colleagues. While I have never been afraid to speak up when I feel the government is doing something wrong, I have always attempted to be constructive and formulate solutions – an important attribute for a potential Chair of the Environmental Audit Committee.
As a past member of both the Justice and the Environmental Audit Committees and present member of the Public Accounts Committee, I have a very real appreciation of the need to work across party lines to effectively and fairly scrutinise the workings of Government. With your support, I will bring those qualities and skills to the role of Chair of the Environmental Audit Committee.
Being the Chair of the Environmental Audit Committee is not simply about opposing Government but working with Government departments and other bodies to improve performance – something I feel very strongly about.

Members of the committee hold a vast array of knowledge, experience and talent. I believe I can bring people together to utilise all strengths to guarantee that the Environmental Audit Committee is at the forefront of helping the government not only meet but exceed its environmental targets.

I do hope you can support me with your first vote on Wednesday 10th February. If you have already pledged your first vote to someone else, I would really appreciate your second vote.

Relevant interests

Brother-in-law owns a recycling business (TXO based in Chepstow) and my wife is employed there.

Image of Barry Gardiner MP

Nominated by (own party)

Valerie Vaz, Julie Elliott, Keir Starmer, Jonathan Ashworth, Lisa Nandy, Dr Alan Whitehead, Mr Iain Wright, Kate Green, Dawn Butler, Jo Cox, Mr Barry Sheerman, Mr Geoffrey Robinson, Dr Roberta Blackman-Woods, Teresa Pearce, Matthew Pennycook 

Nominated by (other parties)

Mrs Maria Miller, Bob Stewart, James Cleverly, Angus Brendan MacNeil, Dr Eilidh Whiteford


The Principle:

The role of the Environmental Audit Committee is NOT to shout at government when policies go wrong. It is to secure sound evidence from witnesses, learn lessons that can inform policy development and help parliament to take the right decisions  - it is about the future not the past.

The Parliamentary Experience:

I am the only candidate who has served as a Minister.

I served in three departments: Northern Ireland, Trade & Industry and DEFRA.

I have also been a Shadow Minister for the Natural Environment and for Energy and Climate Change.

I have worked cross party on Select Committees:

On the Public Accounts Committee under David Davis & Edward Leigh my work helped expose flaws in the SMART Procurement Process and secure an MOU between tobacco companies and the Treasury.

On the Energy and Climate Change Committee I worked closely with Laura Sandys and Tim Yeo to put an end to doorstep selling by the Big Six energy suppliers.

On the Environment Food and Rural Affairs Committee I worked with Anne MacIntosh and Neil Parish to expose the murkier elements of the Horsemeat Scandal.

I ask for your vote because I get things done…

The Proof:


  • I pioneered the England Coast Path.
  • I established the Partnership for Action Against Wildlife Crime.
  • I drew up the UK government’s procurement policy for legal and sustainable timber.
  • I set up the campaign to build a cross party consensus on Air Pollution.


  • I led the UK delegation at the International Whaling Commission in Alaska that worked to stop Japan overturning the ban on commercial whaling.
  • As Special Envoy for Forests I worked with Noble Peace Prize Winner, Wangari Maathai and set up the Congo Basin Forest Fund: £58million to protect the world’s second largest rainforest.
  • In 2011 the Commonwealth Business Council commissioned me to write their Green Growth Strategy.
  • I co-chaired GLOBE International and established the first World Summit of Legislators for a Balanced Environment.
  • The Scottish Parliament invited me to give the closing address at the World’s First Natural Capital Forum in Edinburgh.

The Publications:

I believe I am unique in the Commons in having recently published articles in two of the most prestigious  academic Journals: SCIENCE and NATURE. When the Chartered Institute of Water and Environmental Managers voted me Environmental Politician of the Year, they went so far as to call me "one of the most influential environmental thinkers in politics today".

The Personal:

Before parliament I was senior partner of an international company of maritime arbitrators in the City of London. I am able to analyse legal and economic evidence, summarise reports and draw people from different starting points to shared conclusions -- precisely the skills needed to chair any Audit Committee. My breadth of experience of environmental policy means that I can apply these skills to the job of chairing the Environmental Audit Committee to the benefit of parliament.

The Proviso:

Only if you vote for me as Number 1.

Thank you

Relevant interests

European Region Vice President and Director of GLOBE (Global Legislators Organisation for a Balanced Environment) International AISBL (Non-remunerated position)

  • Biography: Barry Gardiner