“The CPF paper on the environment was a very thorough piece of work and CPF members made the very good over-arching point that, where the environment is concerned, we should ‘think globally, but act locally.’” (Environment Secretary, George Eustice MP)
Following the CPF's consultation earlier in year on the Environment & Animal Welfare, representatives from fourteen CPF groups from right across the UK attended a two-hour roundtable meeting via Zoom with the Secretary of State for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs, George Eustice MP.
Discussion focused around three key themes: a “green Brexit”, food security and next year’s COP 26 conference in Glasgow. Members freely shared their concerns with the Secretary of State and proposed various innovative policy ideas.
In his introductory remarks, George reminded the group that, as long ago as 1875, we were the first country in the world to introduce slaughterhouse standards; we also introduced the Animals Act in 1911 and have been building on that legislation ever since.
The wide-ranging and often detailed discussion covered the full gamut of environmental issues, including soil protection, food security and self-reliance, genetically modified crops, animal welfare, fishing, energy, rare earth materials, housing and the need for more education of young people regarding environmentalism.
Several issues were raised for George to take away for further conversation with other ministers, such as the Minister for COP 26, Alok Sharma, and the Minister for Business, Energy and Clean Growth, Kwasi Kwarteng.
Members commented afterwards that they “found the experience interesting and informative” and that George Eustice “is a brilliant advocate for the environment, animal welfare, farming and fisheries—every question that was asked, was answered not only with knowledge of the problem, but with a much wider understanding of the challenges and nuances than any of the participants had envisaged.”
Highlighting the importance of the CPF, George noted, “We all join political parties and spend all our time trudging the streets and knocking on doors because we believe in a particular policy agenda. It is therefore absolutely crucial that we make use of that passionate interest in policy to help us develop the right policies.”
George went on to commend “the fantastic work that the CPF does to make sure party members contribute directly to policy development”.
“Policies must not just be developed in Whitehall by policy advisers,” he noted, “but with the actual party members who worked so hard to get us into power fully engaged in our policy agenda.”
The work of the CPF helps to build trust between the membership and the Party; to reinforce the Party’s vision and values; and to attract and engage a wider supporter base. It also helps to ensure that policy-making is “a more open and transparent activity” and to “create space for challenging discussions through internal tactics and by opening out the policy process,” in line with best practice outlined in Making Policy Better, published in 2011 by the Institute for Government.
If you fancy having an influence right at the heart of Government, be sure to have your say in our latest consultation, on Public Services: Health, Social Care & Education. If your group puts forward a particularly interesting policy proposal, you too may be invited to discuss your ideas with the relevant Minister or Secretary of State. Who knows, perhaps the next William Beveridge or Rab Butler is in your CPF Group!