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Simon Hart: A leading figure in rural affairs for 20 years

Mr Hart, 56, has held his Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire seat since 2010.

Simon Hart, who has been appointed Secretary of State for Wales (Chris McAndrew/UK Parliament/PA)
Simon Hart, who has been appointed Secretary of State for Wales (Chris McAndrew/UK Parliament/PA)

By Luke Powell, PA

A former chief executive of the Countryside Alliance, newly-appointed Secretary of State Simon Hart has been a key figure in rural affairs for more than 20 years.

Prior to becoming an MP for Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire in 2010, the Conservative led the rural affairs lobby group for seven years from 2003.

The Countryside Alliance, which Mr Hart has been part of for the past 20 years, aims to promote acceptance of rural activities such as hunting and shooting in a managed landscape.

The 56-year-old, who also served as the group’s director of the campaign for hunting, became its chairman in 2015, but stepped down in August this year after being made a parliamentary secretary at the cabinet office.

He supported Prime Minister Boris Johnson in his leadership bid, describing him as the “most fascinating, and therefore the most electable” out of the Tory candidates earlier this year.

On Brexit, Mr Hart campaigned to remain in the EU during the 2016 referendum, but later became one of the leaders of the Brexit Delivery Group which backed Theresa May’s deal over a no-deal Brexit.

Before becoming involved in politics, Mr Hart worked as a chartered surveyor in Carmarthen and Haverfordwest, and served with the Territorial Army for seven years.

He has held his Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire seat since 2010.

Announcing Mr Hart would be stepping down as chairman, Countryside Alliance chief executive Tim Bonner said of him: “Without his leadership, hunting would not have survived the ban as successfully as it has, and the animal rights agenda would have moved on to shooting, farming and any number of other activities.”

PA

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