Former South East Cornwall MP Colin Breed dies

Colin Breed, the former Liberal Democrat MP for South East Cornwall, has died. Born on May 4, 1947, in London, he worked for the Midland Bank for 17 years before entering politics, at one stage becoming its youngest manager when he took over the Plymouth branch. He then spent 10 years in investment banking and ran his own business.

A Methodist lay preacher, Mr Breed was married to Janet and a father of two. In 1982 he was elected to Caradon District Council and Saltash Town Council, and he twice served as mayor of Saltash.

On the retirement of the sitting Conservative MP Sir Robert Hicks, Mr Breed was selected to fight the seat at the 1997 general election and won, with a majority of 6,480, three days before his 50th birthday. His first parliamentary job was as the party’s spokesperson on competition and consumer affairs, and his report Checking Out the Supermarkets sparked the Competition Commission’s investigation into supermarket profitability.

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In October 1999 leader Charles Kennedy appointed him to the Liberal Democrat Shadow Cabinet as Shadow Minister for Agriculture and Rural Affairs Minister; in September 2000 he published Roots To Recovery, a paper on the future of rural Britain. In 2002 he became the junior spokesperson on defence.

He sat on the Defra select committee, the Cetacean By-Catch Sub-Committee, the Standing Committee on the Animal Health Bill and the Treasury Select Committee. He was a lay member of the General Medical Council, an executive member of the Council for the Advancement of Arab and British Understanding, vice-chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Ethiopia and Palestine and the All Party Parliamentary Methodist Group and treasurer of the All Parliamentary Party Cricket Group.

Mr Breed stood down as an MP in April 2010, aged 62, and did not seek re-election. Conservative Sheryll Murray took the seat at that year’s general election.

Colin Martin, leader of the Liberal Democrats on Cornwall Council, said: “Colin gave me my first job in politics, when I came to work for him in Liskeard in 2005, and it soon became clear to me that he embodied so many of the qualities a good MP should have.

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