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New Labour leader appoints vegan as Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Kerry McCarthy is one of Jeremy Corbyn's first appointments to his Shadow Cabinet. Ms McCarthy is a vegan, a Vice President of the League Against Cruel Sports and has previously said in correspondence with BASC that she is “against all shooting 'sports' where there's a living creature on both ends of the gun."

Kerry McCarthy speaks

An interesting appointment and one that is certain to spark plenty of debate, appointing a vegan to deal with Britain’s farmers is nothing if not controversial.

The British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC) has reacted quickly and has already asked for an urgent meeting to discuss the Labour Party’s policy towards shooting and its benefits to the economy, the environment and food.

Richard Ali, Chief Executive of BASC said: “BASC hopes that Ms McCarthy, despite the positions she has taken in the past, will approach her new post of the basis of evidence based policy and the principles of better regulation introduced by the last Labour government. BASC will expect Ms McCarthy to be pragmatic and give shooting a fair hearing.”

Ms McCarthy is not apparently from a rural background. She went to school in Luton and after university studied law in London. Before being elected as an MP she worked as a lawyer and moved to the corporate/banking sector, where she became a specialist in financial markets law.

According to her website, her main policy areas of interest are: the economy; tackling poverty; international aid and trade; transport; crime and justice.

She appears to have impressed her seniors with her grasp of foreign policy as in September 2011 she was made a Foreign Office Minister following a Shadow Cabinet reshuffle with responsibilities to include key issues such as human rights, migration, international crime and the drugs trade, as well as geographical responsibility for China, the Far East, South East Asia, India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, the Caribbean, and Latin America.

Ms McCarthy was the first vegan MP in the House of Commons (there are now three) and has been a vegan for the past 20 years, having been a vegetarian for 10 years prior to that.