Neil Parish

Neil Quentin Gordon Parish[2] (born 26 May 1956) is a British Conservative Party politician and farmer. He is the Member of Parliament (MP) for Tiverton and Honiton and was elected at the 2010 general election. He served as the Member of the European Parliament (MEP) for South West England from 1999 to 2009.

Neil Parish

Chair of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee
Assumed office
18 June 2015
Preceded byAnne McIntosh
Member of Parliament
for Tiverton and Honiton
Assumed office
6 May 2010
Preceded byAngela Browning
Majority24,439 (40.7%)
Member of the European Parliament
for South West England
In office
20 July 1999  14 July 2009
Preceded byPosition established
Succeeded byJulie Girling
Personal details
Born (1956-05-26) 26 May 1956 (age 65)
Bridgwater, Somerset, England
Political partyConservative
Spouse(s)Susan Parish[1]

On 18 June 2015 Parish was elected Chair of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee for the 2015 Parliament, to which he was returned following the 2017 and 2019 elections.

Early life

He was born in Somerset and went to Brymore School (now Brymore Academy), a local authority run agricultural boarding school at Cannington near Bridgwater. He left school at 16 to manage the family farm.[3]


Parish began his career in politics in local government, serving as a Parish, District and County Councillor. In the 1997 general election he contested Torfaen, a safe Labour seat in Wales. He was soundly defeated by 24,536 votes.

Parish was elected to the European Parliament in the 1999 European Parliament election for the South West England region. He was re-elected in 2004 on the top of the Conservatives' party list.

Parish acted as an election monitor during 2000 Zimbabwean parliamentary election, where he criticised the conduct of Robert Mugabe's regime. During the 2008 Presidential election Neil Parish called on the British Government to reject the legitimacy of ZANU-PF and to recognise Morgan Tsvangirai's MDC party as the democratically elected Government of Zimbabwe. Parish is still banned from re-entering the country after voicing his criticism.[4]

For his entire career in the European Parliament he was a member of the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development. From January 2007 to July 2009 he was Chairman of the committee. In December 2001, he was appointed Conservative spokesman on agriculture and he was also the delegation's deputy chief whip. He was instrumental in setting up the year-long European Parliament's public Inquiry into the Foot and Mouth Outbreak and he is also a member of the European Parliament's inquiry into the collapse of Equitable Life. He also served as a substitute member on the Committee on Fisheries.

During his time as Chairman of the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development, it was reported that David Miliband, at the time the Secretary of State for DEFRA, had described Neil Parish as a "Rottweiler" for his dogged persistence.[5]

In February 2007 Parish was selected as the Conservative parliamentary candidate for Tiverton and Honiton. The seat was previously held by the Conservative Angela Browning who was retiring. Parish did not stand for re-election in the 2009 European Parliament election.

In 2015, Parish served as Show President for the annual Mid Devon Show, hosted for the first time in 21 years in the National Trust's grounds of Knighthayes, within his parliamentary constituency.[6]

Parliamentary career

Parish was elected Member of Parliament for Tiverton and Honiton on 6 May 2010. The Conservative vote was 3.6 per cent up, with Mr Parish attracting 27,614 votes - a 50.3 per cent share of the overall votes cast. He won with a majority of 9,320 votes.[7]

In June 2010, weeks into being elected MP, Parish was elected by his fellow MPs onto the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee. The committee is elected by the House of Commons to examine the expenditure, administration and policy of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and its associated public bodies including the Environment Agency and the Natural England.[8] After the 2015 general election, he was returned upopposed as the chairman of the Select Committee.[9]

Parish was elected by Conservative backbenchers as Chairman of the 1922 Backbench Environment Policy Committee on Wednesday 20 July 2010. The Policy Committee plays a significant role both in policy formation and acting as a channel of communication between backbenchers and ministers.[10]

Parish is currently the Chairman of the Associate Parliamentary Group for Animal Welfare. The Group's purpose is to raise awareness of animal welfare issues amongst Parliamentarians.[11]

In July 2012, Parish relaunched and was elected Chairman of both the All Party Parliamentary Group on Beef and Lamb and the All Party Parliamentary Group on Pig and Poultry. The purpose of these two separate groups is to ensure Parliamentarians are briefed by industry experts on the latest developments in the industry, including supply chains, exports, sustainability, health and nutrition.[12]

Parish was one of 79 Conservative MPs who, on 24 October 2011, rebelled against a three-line whip and voted for a national referendum on the UK's relationship with the European Union.[13]

On 22 July 2014, Parish was appointed Parliamentary Private Secretary to The Rt Hon John Hayes MP, Minister of State for Transport, who also acts as a senior advisor to the Prime Minister.[14]

Parish opposes, and voted against the implementation of same sex marriage, stating that he feels the issue is "for the Church and Christians to decide [upon], not for parliament to legislate."[15] In 2014, Parish voted against enabling the courts to deal with proceedings for the divorce of a same sex couple and against making same sex marriage available to armed forces personnel outside the UK.[16]

Parish was opposed to Brexit prior to the 2016 referendum.[17]

Personal life

Parish is married to Susan, and has two children and two grandchildren.[18]


  1. "House of Commons - The Register of Members' Financial Interests - Part 2: Part 2". Retrieved 19 June 2015.
  2. "No. 59418". The London Gazette. 13 May 2010. p. 8741.
  3. West Country Politics at Exeter Express and Echo Archived 4 December 2013 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 7 October 2015
  4. "The Zimbabwe banned list". Archived from the original on 3 May 2012.
  5. "The rottweiler: Neil Parish".
  6. Programme of the 22nd Mid Devon Show
  7. "UK Polling Report".
  8. "Neil Parish on rural affairs committee (From Mid Devon Star)". Retrieved 19 June 2015.
  9. "Winning candidates for select committee Chairs announced". UK Parliament. 18 June 2015. Retrieved 19 June 2015.
  10. "John Redwood heads the list of those elected to chair the Conservative backbench policy committees The Tory Diary". 21 July 2010. Retrieved 19 June 2015.
  11. "Neil Parrish MP - Chairman of APGAW". 4 September 2011.
  12. "House of Commons - Register Of All-Party Groups as at 24 July 2013: Pigs and Poultry". Retrieved 19 June 2015.
  13. "Voting Record — Neil Parish MP, Tiverton and Honiton (24779) — The Public Whip". Retrieved 19 June 2015.
  14. "MP appointed Ministerial Aide to Transport Minister". Neil Parish. 22 July 2014. Retrieved 19 June 2015.
  15. Shepherd, David (28 May 2013). "Mid Devon MPs not wedded to gay marriage". Tiverton Mid Devon Gazette. Archived from the original on 26 May 2015. Retrieved 19 June 2015.
  16. Neil Parish MP, Tiverton and Honiton. "Neil Parish MP, Tiverton and Honiton". TheyWorkForYou. Retrieved 19 June 2015.
  17. Goodenough, Tom (16 February 2016). "Which Tory MPs back Brexit, who doesn't and who is still on the fence?". The Spectator. Retrieved 11 October 2016.
  18. "About Neil". Neil Parish.