Former MP announces resignation as chairman of dairy co-operative

Retired MP Jim Paice, at his home in Fordham.

Retired MP Jim Paice, at his home in Fordham. - Credit: Archant

Former SE Cambridgeshire MP Sir Jim Paice has resigned from his role as chairman of First Milk after less than two years in the post.

According to Farmers Weekly, Sir Jim has written to farmers saying the role needs someone with “real commercial and business skills”.

Earlier this month, Sir Jim, who stepped down in May after 28 years as MP, faced up to strong criticism from MSPs for taking a £90,000 salary for 50 days’ work a year.

First Milk is a dairy co-operative owned by family farms.

In his letter, Mr Paice said: “Signalling my intention to stand down allows the board to immediately start work on scoping out the personal and professional qualities that they require in a new chairman.”

Mr Paice joined First Milk in October 2013 but came under fire from Labour party members in his constituency, who said the electorate would suffer as a result. The party demanded he step down as MP.

Sir Jim, who was minister of state at Defra from 2010-2012, defended his decision, however, stressing that he remained a committed MP for his constituents.