Former NFU vice-president Paul Temple must secure a 75% majority to win back his seat at the union’s top table, it has emerged.
Rules requiring longer-standing NFU leaders to have overwhelming support if they want to stay in their post also apply to challengers who have been elected twice before, the NFU confirmed to Farmers Weekly on Wednesday (25 January).
Mr Temple is one of seven candidates standing for the post of NFU vice-president in the union’s leadership elections on 22 February. Voting will take place immediately after the NFU annual conference and AGM in Birmingham.
The NFU constitution has required longer-standing incumbents seeking re-election to obtain a majority higher than 50% since 1946. The rule is officeholders who have been in post for more than four years are required to obtain 75% of the council vote.
But the “incumbents rule” also applies to past leaders. Although Mr Temple is not an officeholder now, he must still obtain 75% of the vote to oust NFU vice-president Gwyn Jones because he was elected vice-president in 2006 and 2008.
Ken Sutherland, NFU director of finance and business services, said the union had confirmed the situation following advice from corporate lawyers. It had not come up as an issue before but the union felt clarification was needed during a review of the NFU constitution.
“The constitution was a bit woolly,” said Mr Sutherland. “The rule has always been there but the issue that wasn’t clear was whether you had to be elected twice [before the rule kicked in] or whether you had to serve two full terms in office.”
Mr Temple stood down as NFU vice-president in 2009 – half way through his second consecutive term in office. As well as standing for vice-president, this time around he is also standing for deputy president – a role for which he needs a simple majority to win.
“I was a little surprised to be so far through the election process and then to be told of an amendment made in October last year which brings this 75% rule into play in my particular situation,” said Mr Temple.
“Having said that, it only serves to strengthen my belief that the NFU needs change at the top table, and to reach a different generation with new ideas. My focus, as nominated by my region, is on the deputy president’s position.”
Other candidates standing for NFU vice-president are Gwyn Jones (incumbent), Kevin Attwood (Kent), Jonathan Brant (Lincolnshire), Alistair Mackintosh (Devon), Adam Quinney (Warwickshire), and Anthony Rew (Devon).
Candidates standing for deputy president are Meurig Raymond (incumbent), Kevin Attwood (Kent) and Paul Temple (Yorkshire).
Only NFU council members are able to vote, but you can still have your say by using our poll below.
The full list of nominees is as follows: (in alphabetical order):
Peter Kendall (incumbent)
NFU president since 2006, Bedfordshire arable farmer Peter Kendall iswidely regarded as one of the NFU’s most dynamic and successful presidents. But some critics would prefer a farmer with livestock interests at the union’s helm.
Nominees for deputy president
Kent farmer Kevin Attwood is a past chairman of his local county branchand south-east regional board chairman. If elected, it would be his first time on the NFU top table.
Meurig Raymond (incumbent)
Welsh farmer Meurig Raymond has been deputy president since 2006.Crucial issues facing the industry include bovine TB and CAP reform, and he has built a range of contacts in Brussels.
Yorkshire farmer Paul Temple wants to make a comeback after resigning as NFU vice-president in 2009 for a combination of personal and businessreasons. He believes he still has much to offer the union.
Nominees for vice-president:
Lincolnshire farmer Jonathan Brant farms combinable crops and beef nearMarket Rasen in an Area of Outstanding Beauty. Nominated by NFU Lincolnshire, he is the county’s NFU council delegate.
Gwyn Jones (incumbent)
Sussex farmer Gwyn Jones has been NFU vice president since 2010. A dairy producer, he has also diversified into green energy, being one ofthe first farmers in the UK to build an anaerobic digester.
Cumbria farmer Alistair Mackintosh is currently NFU livestock boardchairman. A beef and sheep producer, he has been foremost in the union’s campaign against electronic livestock identification (EID).
Warwickshire farmer is a beef and sheep producer from Sambourne, nearRedditch. Past NFU posts include branch chairman, council representativeand regional board chairman. He also sat on the national livestock committee.
Devon farmer Anthony Rew is NFU south-west regional board chairman. A third-generation family farmer, his enterprises include combinable crops and beef. He has also served the NFU as his county’s council delegate.
Nominees will attend hustings in each region from 16-19 January. Successful candidates will serve a two-year term from 2012 to 2014.
This poll is for interest only. Votes do NOT count towards the election of NFU leaders.