Defra’s George Eustice resigns over possible Article 50 delay

A former farmer

Eustice, a long-standing Brexiter and former Ukip candidate, announced his decision to resign following motions in the House of Commons yesterday (27 February) which he believed would lead the EU to be “dictating the terms” of Brexit negotiations – and risk leaving the UK “humiliated”.

In a letter to Prime Minister Theresa May, Eustice said he had to stand down following the parliamentary votes which would “allow the postponement of our exit from the EU”.

Eustice, who had re-joined Defra as Minister of State in June 2017, said: “Since Parliament is now in direct control of events, I want to be free to participate in the critical debate that will take place in the weeks ahead.

“I will vote for your Withdrawal Agreement when it returns to the House and I very much hope that the Attorney General succeeds in securing final changes so that others might too.”


The MP for Camborne, Redruth and Hayle said that, although he had originally campaigned to leave, he had always supported a compromise position to “achieve a reconciliation in our country” and had “stuck with the government through a series of rather undignified retreats”.

But he added: “I fear that developments this week will lead to a sequence of events culminating in the EU dictating the terms of any extension requested and the final humiliation of our country.”

Eustice was the Minister of State for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food with responsibilities including better regulation, fisheries, food and farming, including Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), apprenticeships, exports, and bovine tuberculosis (TB) policy, as well as science and innovation.

He was elected to be an MP in 2010 after working with Michael Howard on the press team for the 2005 General Election. In 2000, Eustice was appointed as Campaign Director for “No”, the campaign group to ensure that the UK did not adopt the Euro as the national currency. Prior to that, he worked on the family farm business for nine years.

His family still run a fruit farm, restaurant and shop in Cornwall, where they have a herd of south Devon cattle and British Lop pigs.

Read all of edie’s Brexit news here.

James Evison

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