Former farming minister John Gummer to quit parliament

Former agriculture minister John Gummer is to quit the Commons at the general election and concentrate on combating global warming.

The Suffolk MP said the failure of the recent UN climate change summit in Copenhagen to secure a legally-binding deal had prompted him to look beyond Parliament.

In a statement, he said: “Since the very disappointing results of the Copenhagen negotiations, I have been forced to rethink my plans for the future.

“In discussion with colleagues in the rest of Europe and the United States, as well as with international NGOs, I have realised that I cannot commit myself to the work that they believe has to be done and continue to serve my constituents as I would want.”

Mr Gummer joined the Cabinet in 1989 as Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries, and Food. When at agriculture, he famously fed his daughter Cordelia with a beef burger at the Suffolk Show to convince the public there was no danger of catching mad cow disease from eating British meat.