9 January 1998

Only two to battle for top NFU job

BEN GILL and Tony Pexton, the NFUs two deputy presidents, are the only nominees for next months election of a new union president.

The vacancy follows Sir David Naishs decision not to stand again for election, after seven years in the top job.

The pair have also been nominated for the deputy positions, along with four other candidates: Tim Bennett, chairman of the less favoured areas committee; John Lloyd Jones, chairman of the unions Welsh council; Hugh Oliver-Bellasis, parliamentary committee vice-chairman; and Rad Thomas, chairman of the oilseeds and protein committee.

Current treasurer, David Quayle, has been nominated, unopposed, for another term in office.

Nominations closed on Monday, although company secretary Alan Roberts told FW that late nominations could be considered by office holders and by council. "If we get a late nomination, I think it is my duty to draw that to the attention of office holders – there may be a very good reason for the lateness.

"But there is no obligation on office holders, or on council, to accept late nominations. It is entirely up to them to decide," Mr Roberts said. The next council meeting is on Wed, Jan 14.

Added to list

Devon beef producer Richard Haddock could benefit from that with moves afoot to have him added to the list of candidates for deputy president.

Shropshire farmer Peter Heath said a meeting of 22 "fairly militant" farmers from the far south-west, through Wales and up as far as Lancashire, had decided to ask Mr Haddock to stand for election.

"It is not Richard Haddock pushing himself forward. It is the grass roots saying they want a more grass roots person at senior level in the NFU. They want to see NFU reform. They feel the flow of information from grass roots to London and back is shrouded in mystery and too long-winded."

He said Shropshire NFUs annual meeting this week would propose Mr Haddock as deputy president.

Mr Haddock was nominated for the deputy presidency by Hereford NFU annual meeting this week by a 2:1 majority.

NFU council, which meets in London on Wednesday, will decide whether or not to accept the late nomination.