By-election candidates face farmers

10 August 2023

Five people behind a table taking questions from an audience

Ahead of the Somerton & Frome by-election, farmers in the constituency had a chance to put their questions to the candidates at a hustings meeting organised by the NFU.

The election was won by Liberal Democrat Sarah Dyke.

NFU regional policy manager for the South, Alex Stevens, said: “Congratulations to Sarah and all the candidates, who made a real effort to engage with businesses and communities in Somerton and Frome, not least at our own hustings event. 

“We are looking forward to taking Sarah out to on-farm meetings and helping her to learn more about the pressures faced by farming families, the opportunities for improving productivity and the good work that can be done to meet environmental and biodiversity challenges while navigating the route to Net Zero. 

Enagaging with candidates

“The NFU engages with all policy makers and influencers from all parties in a non-partisan way and we look forward to engaging with Prospective Parliamentary Candidates as well as our experienced MPs as we move closer to the next general election.”

At the hustings meeting, Ms Dyke was joined by Martin Dimery (Green), Neil Guild (Labour), Faye Purbrick (Conservative) and Peter Richardson (UKIP) and about 25 farmers who gathered at the Cross Keys in Lydford-on-Fosse. The meeting was overseen by Somerset NFU chair Lindsey Isgar.

Taking questions

The candidates took questions about topics including the farming transition, encouraging new entrants, food security, veganism, and the future of the NHS.

Somerset county adviser Emily Martin said the event had produced a good debate, with farmers asking some thought-provoking questions.

“Members appreciated hearing from the candidates and the evening was very worthwhile,” she said.

This page was first published on 13 July 2023. It was updated on 10 August 2023.

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