Nusrat Ghani, MP for Wealden, has taken up the role of co-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for wine and spirits, following the group’s recent AGM.

Ghani, who has been MP for Wealden since 2015, was elected to serve alongside Neil Coyle MP for Bermondsey, and will assume the role immediately. She replaces Sir Peter Bottomley MP for Worthing West.

Ghani has 14 vineyards in her constituency and according to the Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA), she has long been a champion of the English wine sector, and has promoted the sector around the world, including most recently in Washington. The vineyards in her constituency include Rathfinny, Clayton Hills and Henners.

In her first week in the role, Ghani asked a question in the House of Commons to Helen Whately MP, urging the treasury minister and the chancellor to visit vineyards in her constituency to hear “face to face the anxieties they have over treasury’s plans to hike tax on wine and add more red tape by increasing three rates of duty to 27”.

The WSTA acts as secretariat to the Wine and Spirit APPG. WSTA chief executive Miles Beale, said: “The WSTA works closely with the APPG throughout the year and I’m sure Nus’s passion for supporting the vineyards in her constituency will be hugely helpful as she takes up her new role.  I would also like to thank Sir Peter Bottomley, who Nus takes over from, for his support for UK wine and spirit businesses over recent years.

“This year will be a crucial year for wines and spirits – as the chancellor decides how to implement the proposed changes to the Alcohol Duty Review. The current proposals are unworkable and hugely burdensome for the industry. The APPG has a crucial role to play in helping to ensure the chancellor listens and takes on board the sector’s concerns.”

Ghani added: “It’s a crucial time for the wine and spirit industry and I am keen to champion the major economic benefits which the sector brings to rural communities such as those in my constituency of Wealden.

“The industry, which supports thousands of UK jobs, is critical to helping rural communities achieve the Government’s pledge to level up the ‘left behind’ areas in the UK. The wine industry alone generates £250 million in duty per year, and we should ensure going forwards that we can do all we can to support the growth and innovation of this sector.”