NFU deputy hints at leadership challenge

NFU deputy president Meurig Raymond has declared an interest in running for the union presidency which will be contested in 2012.

Mr Raymond is yet to declare officially that he will challenge for the leadership but revealed his plans at the Devon NFU AGM on Friday (18 November). The county members gave him provisional backing in a vote at the meeting.

“This will be my sixth year as deputy president and I have the ambition to lead the organisation,” he said. “I believe I have the passion and the knowledge to lead the industry, but I want to test the water and see how much support I have.”

Current president Peter Kendall had already indicated that he would stand for a fourth consecutive term in office, due to be decided at the national AGM in February. Although Devon members agreed that he had done an excellent job, some felt it was time for a livestock producer to take on the reins. “I am very pleased to be supported by Devon,” said Mr Raymond. “It is my burning ambition to lead the NFU, but whether the timing is right next year depends on how much support is out there.”

The Devon branch would only give official backing by its management committee after council hustings in mid-January, said Devon chairman David Horton. The branch AGM also voted to support Cumbria’s Alistair Mackintosh as deputy president, with Devon’s Anthony Rew as vice president.

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