Geoffrey lives in West Devon, near Tavistock, with his wife, Jeanie and his family. They have a daughter and two sons, Charlotte, James and Jonathan who attended the local village school. Geoffrey was born and brought up in the West Country, is the son of a soldier (his father was schooled in Tavistock) and his family have been Devonians for generations. His brother is a local solicitor. Geoffrey is strongly involved in the local community, and among other posts, is President of the Tavistock Football Club and a Vice President of the North Devon Hospice, which he named as his MP’s Charity.
When he was elected in 2005, Geoffrey identified the following local priorities in his work as MP:
Sustaining our rural communities and tackling the crisis in livestock farming
Safeguarding and improving the quality of rural health, education and police services
Protecting and sustaining our environment
For the past eight years, he has gained a reputation as a caring and effective constituency MP. He has fought hard for our communities, leading the campaigns against Post Office closures and against the urban centred policies of the Labour Government that have resulted in losses of services and so much damage to our rural communities and small market towns. He has helped hundreds of individuals, as well as community groups and local causes, holding over 3,600 surgery appointments since May 2005, and answering over 55,000 letters and emails. In the summer he goes out and about around the rural communities in his mobile surgery.
In Parliament, he is known as a powerful and fearless speaker. He has secured and led debates on important local issues such as Bovine TB, Devon’s unfair schools funding, and sheltered housing for the elderly. He has held the previous Labour government to account for its damaging policies towards livestock farming, cross examining Defra Secretary of State Hilary Benn in Select Committee and in the House of Commons on Defra’s appalling record. He has spoken out on ID cards, individual and religious freedom, affordable homes and utility prices, challenging the previous government over its neglect of the South West and of Torridge and West Devon’s communities.
Geoffrey only employs local people and does not employ any member of his family; he has not been criticised for his use of parliamentary expenses and allowances and received a clean bill of health from Sir Thomas Legge’s inquiry. Geoffrey supports the complete revision of the system, stricter rules and absolute transparency.