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Chelsea Flower Show Prompts a Political-Horticultural Proposal

Chris Bonnett, the owner of Gardening Express, has proposed an innovative idea to bridge the gap between politicians and the horticulture industry.

He suggests hosting a reception dinner or lunch for a wide array of Members of Parliament, ministers and key figures in the UK horticulture industry during the RHS Chelsea Flower Show.


The event would provide an opportunity for meaningful dialogue and engagement between the industry and those in power or poised to be in power.


Bonnett's idea is to follow the reception with a tour of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, allowing politicians to directly experience the vibrancy and innovation of the horticulture sector.


This hands-on approach could foster a deeper understanding of the industry's challenges and opportunities, potentially leading to more informed policy-making.


Traditionally, members of the All Party Gardening and Horticulture Group have toured the show, with organisations like OHRG, HTA, BALI, RHS, and NFU providing briefings. In 2023, Defra ministers and civil servants attended the event, but there were no formal interviews or meetings.


The HTA and RHS increased their lobbying efforts at Chelsea in 2023. The HTA even hosted a stand and a breakfast briefing, attended by MPs such as Seema Malhotra and Heather Wheeler.


This indicates a growing recognition of the importance of political engagement in the horticulture industry.


Bonnett's suggestion reflects a growing awareness within the industry of the need for closer ties with policymakers to address the unique challenges and opportunities facing horticulture in the UK.

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