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Sir Charles Walker MP stepping down as Chair of the Angling Trust
Sir Charles Walker MP has today announced that he is stepping down as Chair of the Angling Trust due to the pressure of work in Parliament following his appointment to several important Commons committees. He feels he can no longer do justice to his role within the Trust while sitting as a serving MP in the current ‘febrile’ political climate which will only become more intense as the General Election approaches.
Charles, a lifelong angler, was appointed as the unpaid Chair of the Angling Trust’s Board of Directors in May 2022 after he had announced his decision to retire from Parliament at the next general election. He formally took over from outgoing Chair George Stephenson in September.
Charles has represented the Broxbourne constituency in Hertfordshire for the Conservatives since 2005 and has served in a variety of senior positions in Parliament including as Vice Chairman and Acting Chairman of the 1922 Committee of Conservative MPs. He also chairs the All Party Parliamentary Groups on Angling and Chalkstreams.
Last October he was appointed to serve on the House of Commons Standards and Privileges Committee, which polices the conduct of MPs, in addition to his roles as Chairman of the Administration Committee and as a Commissioner of the House of Commons Commission.
Sir Charles said:
“I have nothing but admiration for Jamie Cook and the excellent team at the Angling Trust and will continue to work with them, where I can, for the benefit of the sport we all love and the environment upon which it depends. The Trust is a fiercely independent organisation with a hard-earned reputation for vigorously campaigning on behalf of Britain’s two million anglers and, where I can, I will do my best to ensure that fish and fishing are championed in Parliament.
“However, with an increased workload in the Commons and a hard-fought general election looming in a politically febrile atmosphere I have come to the conclusion that I simply cannot spare the time to do justice to the role of Chair of the Angling Trust on top of everything else.”
Charles added: “I will be continuing my work as Chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Groups on Angling and on Chalkstreams and intend to remain fully engaged in the Trust’s campaigns to protect access for anglers and creating marine sport fisheries.”
Angling Trust CEO, Jamie Cook, added:
“I shall be sorry to see Charles step down as he is a fantastic and long-standing advocate for angling and was by far the strongest candidate for the job. He is, without question, the most passionate supporter of angling in Parliament and in 2020 Charles was instrumental in helping us persuade ministers to allow fishing to continue during the various Covid lockdowns when other sports remained banned.
“As our Chair, he has helped us overturn angling restrictions on places like the Attenborough Nature Reserve and move forward with exciting proposals for a recreational tuna fishery. However, I respect his reasons for stepping down and I’m delighted that he intends to keep working with us and remain Chairman of two important All Party Parliamentary Groups. He is, and will always be, a great friend to fish and fishing.”
Fish Legal Chair George Graham commented:
“Anglers have for many years been lucky to benefit from Charles’s support in Parliament. In his time as our Chair he has continued that work, helping us to navigate a path through some thorny issues that threatened our sport. We are sorry that his increasing parliamentary commitments mean he will not be able to continue in that role. His enthusiasm for the work we do at Fish Legal has also greatly encouraged us; I will miss working with him.”