Living Streets has appointed former Labour MP Mary Creagh as its chief executive.
Creagh has over 20 years' experience campaigning for environmental and social justice, as a Labour councillor, government whip, MP, shadow cabinet minister and select committee chair. She is also a visiting professor at Cranfield University.
Joe Irvin retired from the role of chief executive in March 2020 following Living Streets’ 90th anniversary. Jenni Wiggle has been acting as interim chief executive for the past few months and will return to her role as senior director when Creagh takes up the role.
Creagh will join the charity on 1 September 2020.
She said: “I am thrilled to join Living Streets as it fulfils its historic mission to create a walking nation. Millions of people have recently reconnected with walking and it has been a real comfort and lifeline during lockdown. But in too many places, our streets are not fit for purpose.
“I look forward to working with staff, supporters and trustees to put walking at the heart of the nation’s green recovery. We need better streets so that more people from all walks of life choose walking.”
Creagh had been the Labour MP for Wakefield and left the Commons on 6 November 2019 after losing her seat. She had been an MP since 2005 and an Islington councillor before that.
She accused the former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn of “preening narcissism”, after stating that no one from his team had been in touch with her in the week following the loss of her seat.
In her previous role as chair of the Environmental Audit Committee, she said the rise of fast-fashion is leading to charity shops filling up with cheap, low quality clothes.
Creagh told The Telegraph in 2018: “Charity shops can't be the dumping ground for the high street's dirty little secret – much of what they take back they can't sell because of the quality and it's very difficult to recycle the fibres.
“They are turning it away as they can't sell it, so fabric either goes to Europe or the developing world. It's disrupting markets in other countries.”