“Life-long environmentalist” Daniel Zeichner MP describes this role as a “huge honour"Chris McAndrew/Wikimedia Commons

Daniel Zeichner, MP for Cambridge, will temporarily take on the role of Shadow Environment Secretary after Luke Pollard MP takes a leave of absence.

Senior Labour MP Luke Pollard is stepping down from the role for the next month to focus on his Plymouth constituency, following the mass shootings that occurred in mid-August.

In a series of tweets, Pollard emphasized the importance of focusing on the Keyham community, which is still “hurting” from the aftermath of the shootings.

“The events in Keyham have shaken our community and have hit us all hard. That’s why I’ve asked Keir Starmer to allow me to step back from my shadow cabinet role for the next month so I can focus on our community in Keyham.

“When I was elected in 2017 I promised I would put Plymouth first as an MP and I meant it. Our community must get the support we need from Ministers and it’s my job to get that support.”

The mass shooting, which took place on 12/08, resulted in the death of six people. 

Sir Keir Starmer confirmed on social media that Pollard would return for the Labour Party Conference in late September, the first to be held in person since Starmer became the party's leader.

In a tweet, he said “Today I've agreed to a request from Luke Pollard to take a step back from his shadow environment role for the next month so he can support his community after the shootings in Keyham. He will return for #Lab21.

“While away, Daniel Zeichner will look after Labour's Defra work.”

Zeichner said, “It’s a huge honour to be asked to keep my hand on the tiller as we approach the vital COP26 conference.”

The UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) summit will be hosted by the UK, taking place between 31st October and 12th November in Glasgow.

He adds, “Of course my number one priority remains my Cambridge constituents but I know Cambridge people want action on the climate and biodiversity emergency. I’ll be working hard on Labour’s Green New Deal and Rural Review policies ready for Luke’s return.”


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Zeichner is already an executive member of the Labour’s environmental campaign SERA, which advocates for tackling environmental and social problems in Britain.

As a “life-long environmentalist”, he supports the school climate strikers, has campaigned against the use of bee-killing pesticides and has been a vocal supporter of Cambridge University‘s divestment from fossil fuel companies. 

Pollard said that he was “proud” of the work being done by Labour’s Environment Team, and that the climate emergency requires “pressing action.”

Pollard stated: “It’s my job as Keyham’s MP to be focused on the community at this difficult time. We will get through this and will get through it together.”