22 December 2000

One member, one vote battle

NFU members in the north-east of England are to gather 500 signatures to force a special general meeting after NFU headquarters rejected a proposal for a one member, one vote election for the union presidency.

The proposal, put forward by the Wakefield branch, was accepted by West Riding NFU at its annual meeting, but blocked when headquarters decided that the presidential election should remain in the control of the NFU council.

The proposal was also rejected when passed to the meeting members expectations committee which was set up last year to try and modernise the union.

Wakefield NFU vice-chairman Dick Lindley said: "If headquarters thinks that ordinary members are satisfied that someone should vote on our behalf then its a disgrace."

Meanwhile, newly-elected Som-erset delegate to NFU headquarters council Derek Mead has hit back following NFU corporate chairman Robin Pooleys criticism of farming activists.

Mr Pooley said that the activists would attack the NFU in the Press but were afraid to speak in front of NFU Council.

"He makes it sound as though there are several activists who are also NFU headquarters delegates. Until I was elected recently there was only one – Richard Haddock," said Mr Mead.

He noted that in order to speak at council the presidents permission is needed, and for resolutions a seconder is required. So someone with reactionary ideas or criticisms might have difficulty.

"But in future therell be two of us," said Mr Mead. &#42