29 June 1998
Ructions in Countryside Alliance

THE Daily Telegraph reports on the fractious internal politicking of the Countryside Alliance.

The group which was responsible for nearly 300,000 marching in London on March 1, is split by a boardroom row over the future of the newly-appointed chief executive, Edward Duke. Janet George, its press officer has been sacked.

Mr Dukes supporters are understood to include Dr Charles Goodson-Wickes, the boards chairman and former MP. Those in the other camp include Lord Kimball, the alliances deputy president.

The dispute centres on Mrs George, who was twice interviewed for the chief executives job. Mr Duke is believed to have wanted the organisation to embrace a wider range of issues than Mrs George, “who ate, drank and breathed hunting”.

Mr Dukes attempt to adopt a more businesslike approach to the Alliances affairs were hampered by the popularity of Robin Hanbury-Tenison, the chief executive of the British Field Sports Society, the driving force of the Alliance. Matters came to a head when a letter of no confidence signed by Mrs George, Roger Loodmer, the finance director, and John Gardiner, director of public affairs, was sent to Dr Goodson-Wickes, on June 12.

The board met shortly afterwards and was divided over whom to support. The decision apparently was to put Mr Duke on “probation” and offer to pay off their outspoken press officer, recognising that the two could not work together. Mrs George is planning legal action.

  • The Daily Telegraph 29/06/98 page 5, page 21 (Editorial)