Championing the Rural Powerhouse in your region

Following the general election, will rural challenges and concerns be heard in your area? Find out how the CLA is lobbying on behalf of members in your region

Everyone knows that a general election is soon upon us. It’s a time when political parties and their candidates ramp up their efforts to encourage votes for their cause.

However, as many CLA members will tell you, not all parties and their candidates are seemingly aware of the important issues facing rural communities and businesses. Many of these challenges have been overlooked or neglected. A significant concern when we consider that closing the productivity gap between rural and urban areas would add £43bn to the UK economy.

It’s for this reason why the CLA’s regional teams throughout England and Wales have put in considerable time and effort, way before the latest party manifestos were released, in meeting with prospective political candidates to lobby on behalf of members and the wider rural community.

Below, each CLA region provides a summary of their recent achievements and photo evidence of times when they have met with political candidates to discuss rural affairs.

South East

Since summer 2023, the CLA South East team has seen dozens of candidates from all the major parties at a variety of events: shows, farm visits, AGMs and committee meetings, roundtables and in online policy sessions. At these, a number of key issues were covered, including the agricultural transition, planning and housing, crime and connectivity.

One of the highlights for the team was seeing seven candidates on the first day of the South of England Show earlier this month. Prospective political candidates met with members and CLA staff to pledge their support to our Rural Powerhouse campaign.

South West

Lobbying candidates for the general election began in earnest at the start of 2024 for the CLA South West team, when it became clear a general election was on the horizon. The Devon County Show and Royal Cornwall Show provided ideal opportunities to speak with candidates, and the team invited them to meet members on our stands at these popular agricultural shows.

During the two shows themselves, a number of different candidates from constituencies in those counties met with CLA President Victoria Vyvyan and Regional Director Ann Maidment. While at a ‘hustings’ for the political breakfast at Royal Cornwall Show, candidates from the three main seats in North Cornwall – the constituency within which the showground sits – addressed a sell-out crowd of rural business owners and farmers.


It’s been a busy period for the CLA Midlands team. Located in an area of the country that feeds into each of the other CLA regions, many candidates here have influence over constituencies in neighbouring regions.

To ensure that the rural voice of this region is heard, whichever party comes into power, the CLA team here has introduced a number of members to candidates and arranged discussions with all major parties. These included a roundtable with Nadhim Zahawi, Conservative MP for West Worcestershire, a meeting with members from the North Shropshire constituency with Helen Morgan, and a discussion with Labour’s parliamentary candidate for High Peak, Jon Pearce.


The CLA East team undertakes regular political engagement in the region but the surprise election announcement in May has led to an escalation in that activity in recent weeks.

A week after the election was called, Acting Regional Director Mark Riches met with numerous candidates at the Suffolk Show. CLA members across the region have also hosted candidate visits to their farms and estates recently facilitated and attended by the CLA team.

The Lincolnshire Show has been another opportunity to meet with aspiring MPs, and the work continues, as more candidate visits to rural businesses in the East are in the diary in the run up to election day on July 4.


The CLA North team has been engaging with close to 30 sitting MPs and parliamentary candidates across the political spectrum in the run up to this year’s general election, and has another handful of meetings penned in too. The purpose of these meetings are to champion the CLA’s political ‘missions’ as part of our ongoing Rural Powerhouse campaign and ensure that local constituency candidates have rural affairs high on their list of priorities.

Some previous candidate meetings have included talking with Labour’s John Grogan standing in Keighley and Ilkley, a roundtable discussion on the future of farming with Robbie Moore MP, and a meeting between landowners and prospective candidates for Carlisle, kindly hosted by CLA Cumbria Branch Vice-Chair Jocelyn Holland.


In the run up to the general election, CLA Cymru has actively engaged with political candidates across Wales to advocate for the interests of members. Given that the Welsh Parliament is not due for an election until 2026, the team are in a unique position of needing to lobby and build relationships with two parliaments: Westminster in London and the Senedd in Cardiff. This dual approach ensures that the diverse concerns of our membership are effectively communicated and addressed at both national and devolved levels. These include aspects such as rural economic growth, sustainable development, tourism and support for our agricultural industry.

The CLA Cymru team has conducted meetings and sent information packs to both candidate Members of Parliament (MPs) alongside their supporting Members of the Senedd (MSs), who have often been canvassing alongside each other during the election run up. CLA Cymru has highlighted the essential role of strong rural economies in contributing to the overall prosperity of Wales, particularly in light of the reduction in Welsh Westminster parliamentary seats from 40 to 32. All the while using as a guide the recent rural growth report, the outcome of the Senedd Cross Party Group (CPG) on which the CLA sat as secretariat, to highlight key campaign issues.

Together, each region has played its part to encourage the use of policies that reflect the true needs of the UK's countryside.

Using the CLA’s six core missions for the next government as a blueprint, our teams will ensure that whichever candidate or party is elected in your region this summer, they will hear your concerns and be offered ways in which they can empower the Rural Powerhouse.

Rural Powerhouse

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