Martin’s key responsibility now is as a borough councillor for Leckhampton ward, elected in May 2018. He is also a parish councillor for Leckhampton and works particularly on neighbourhood planning including the protection of Leckhampton’s green fields.
As a councillor, Martin represents Leckhampton on Cheltenham Borough Council and Cheltenham on the countywide Health & Care Overview and Scrutiny Committee, holding local NHS and county social care decision-makers to account. He has also been Cheltenham’s representative on the board of the Cotswold Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and also sits on Leckhampton with Warden Hill Parish Council.
Martin is also an unpaid trustee of the county’s leading nature conservation and promotion charity, the Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust, and of the Emthonjeni Trust, a Cheltenham-based charity that supports people with HIV/AIDS in the Eastern Cape of South Africa. He is a Patron of local homeless charity Cheltenham Open Door and of Gloucestershire Action for Refugees and Asylum Seekers.
From July 2019 until Brexit in January 2020, Martin was a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) for the South West England & Gibraltar constituency. He was Vice-President of the 108-strong Renew Europe group in the Parliament which brings together Liberals and likeminded allies from across the continent. Martin sat on the Parliament’s international development committee (DEVE), building on his past political and professional experience in development. He was also a substitute member of the the foreign affairs committee (AFET) and its security and defence sub-committee (SEDE) and vice chair of the Parliament’s delegation to Iran. Read more about the Parliament and Martin’s role as an MEP here.
For ten years until 2015, Martin was Member of Parliament for Cheltenham. He continued to be the Lib Dem parliamentary candidate for Cheltenham until 2017 when he stood down for personal reasons and was succeeded by Max Wilkinson.
As MP, Martin stood up for Cheltenham on issues that affected local people, asked parliamentary questions of government and lobbied a wide range of organisations on behalf of Cheltenham, from the local NHS to Network Rail to the Environment Agency. He also took up thousands of individual cases for constituents living in Cheltenham on everything from NHS treatment to energy bills to tax and benefits.
In parliament, Martin was the Liberal Democrat spokesperson on international development. For much of the 2010-15 parliament he was co-chair of the Liberal Democrat parliamentary party’s international affairs committee, keeping in touch with coalition ministers in the Foreign Office and the Department for International Development and putting the Liberal Democrat party’s position in debates on a wide range of international issues (including Tibet – Martin is pictured with the Dalai Lama). He chaired the party’s expert international policy working group which produced the policy Britain at the heart of a changing world (downloadable here).
As shadow environment minister in the 2005-10 parliament, Martin contributed to his party’s policymaking process on both climate change and the natural environment, areas about which he cares deeply. He remains President of the Green Liberal Democrats.
Martin was involved in a number of all-party parliamentary groups in the UK Parliament including groups working on the environment and development , responsible investment, employee ownership and education. He chaired the all-party parliamentary group for tribal peoples, which worked with the charity Survival International to support the rights of threatened tribal peoples around the world. He was also a trustee of the History of Parliament Trust, a member of the cross-sector environmentalist group the Aldersgate Group and on the advisory group of the Environment and Climate Intelligence Unit.
Back in Cheltenham, Martin was President of Cheltenham’s RSPCA branch and a trustee of several other local charities including the Cheltenham Housing Aid Centre, Insight Gloucestershire and the Cheltenham Trust which runs the Pittville Pump Room, Wilson art gallery & museum, Leisure@, Town Hall and the Prince of Wales Stadium. He is a member or supporter of many other local organisations including the Cheltenham Local History Society (for whom he has researched and written articles on Cheltenham’s past MPs) and the Leckhampton Green Land Action Group (which his father co-founded).