We are a growing network of Labour members and supporters across the UK working to better represent Labour on the coast and in the country. Our work is overseen by an informal committee, including:

James Bartholomeusz is a Labour member from the East of England and campaigns on rural and environmental issues. Having previously worked for the Campaign to Protect Rural England and the European Parliament, he writes regularly for the Fabian Society and other progressive platforms and sits on the national youth committee of his trade union. He stood for Hertfordshire County Council in the 2017 local elections.

Pamela Buchan is a Plymouth City Councillor since 2018. As a Councillor, she sits on the Devon & Severn IFCA, Tamar Estuaries Consultative Forum, Plymouth Energy Community, and the SW Regional Flood and Coastal Change Committee. Formerly a marine biologist, and after a career in the voluntary sector as a science communicator, she is now an interdisciplinary PhD researcher at Exeter University investigating marine citizenship. This research falls within the new field of marine social science and is concerned with bringing the ocean environment into common understandings of citizenship responsibility. Pamela is particularly interested in democratic understandings of environmental management and science, and public participation in policy-making.

Lord Jim Knight works in education, medtech and as a legislator. He is the Chief Education and External Officer at TES Global Ltd, the news, training, jobs and resource sharing service for teachers. Jim is a founder of XRapid, enabling diagnosis of malaria and asbestos fibres using iPhones. He was the Labour MP for South Dorset for nine years.  As a UK government minister his portfolios included rural affairs, schools, digital and employment. He was a member of Gordon Brown’s Cabinet 2009-2010, before joining the Lords after the 2010 General Election. He is also a visiting Professor at the Knowledge Lab of the UCL Institute of Education. 

Hywel Lloyd is an independent facilitator and policy practitioner at Facilitating the Future. His work seeks to promote sustainable local communities through local governance and ownership, not least of energy, land and local food.  His varied career includes nightclub management to running employment programmes, particularly for disabled people; he has worked for the Ministerial teams of Hazel Blears at CLG, and Hilary Benn at DEFRA, and helped improve many local public services across the UK while at the Office for Public Management (OPM).  He has helped plant over 30 community orchards & woods and would like to see Apple Day (21st Oct) as a new Bank Holiday.  While he lives in north London, his family’s roots are rural South West Wales. He is the first point of contact at Labour:Coast&Country.

Sandy Martin was the Member of Parliament for Ipswich from 2017 to 2019. Prior to that, he was Leader of Suffolk County Council Labour Group, a County Councillor from 1997 to 2017, and a Borough Councillor from 2002 to 2014, representing a ward in Ipswich.  He lived until 1993 in the small market town of Halesworth. In the years before committing full-time to political activity, Sandy worked at the Ipswich Community Resource Centre, a drop-in advice centre for the unemployed, and served as the Coordinator for Ipswich & District Friends of the Earth. Sandy serves on the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee, and is one of the Vice Chairs of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for County Councils.

Sally Webber specialises in food and agriculture policy and advises a member of the Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs Select Committee, and the Shadow DERFRA frontbench team. She has worked at the RSPB and DEFRA, where she was Specialist Adviser to the Secretary of State and covered food and agriculture for Hilary Benn. She lives in rural Suffolk with her husband, and their two sons.

Brenda Weston has been a Labour activist since 1981, an elected member of the National Policy Forum, representing South West CLPs, since 1998 and is a former county and district councillor. Having spent several years in postgraduate study into rural poverty, with a particular focus on gender and rurality, her working life has since spanned trade union work (regional and national UNISON officer) local government (community care planning) and the voluntary sector (policy and research officer for a South West equalities charity and social policy research for a Citizens Advice-led project in Somerset). She has also lectured in FE and HE environments on topics associated with equalities and rurality.

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