John Gummer began his schooling at Holy Trinity C of E Primary School in Brompton from where he went to the King’s School in Rochester. He was an Exhibitioner at Selwyn College, Cambridge, where he read History, was President of the Cambridge Union and Chairman of the Conservative Association.
After being elected to serve as a Member of Parliament his ministerial career began with his appointment as a Conservative Whip and then as an Employment Minister. He served as Minister for Health and Safety and Minister for Local Government.
John became a Cabinet Minister, under both Margaret Thatcher and John Major, serving as Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Food and then as Secretary of State for the Environment. He has had sixteen years of ministerial experience – one of only five people in the last 200 years who have held so long a tenure.
He played a vital part in the negotiations for the Uruguay whilst chairing the Council of Agriculture Ministers. He was instrumental in bringing environmental considerations to the heart of British Agricultural policy and then to the wider European CAP.
John was the UK Environmental Secretary from 1993-1997 where he played a key role in the “Convention on Climate Change” meetings held in Berlin and Geneva. The Secretary-General of the United Nations named him as one of a small Committee of Distinguished Persons advising on Habitat II (UN Conference on Human Settlements). In 1996, He was also elected Chairman of the Environmental Committee of the OECD by his fellow ministers. Friends of the Earth called him the best Environment Secretary they had ever had.
After his term as Secretary of State, John was awarded the Medal of Honour by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds – the UK’s largest environmental organisation. He is the only Government Minister to have ever received this award.
John Gummer stood down from the House of Commons at the 2010 general election and was appointed to the Upper House as Lord Deben.
John writes regularly for the Catholic Herald, Country Life, Estates Gazette and other magazines with a pronounced emphasis on environmental issues. He has written pieces on social issues, politics and religion.
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