George Eustice re-appointed to Defra by Boris Johnson
George Eustice MP has been given back his former role as Agriculture Minister by new Prime Minister Boris Johnson, after leaving the post in February.
Eustice, the MP for Camborne, Redruth and Hayle, was re-instated to his Ministerial role on Thursday (25 July) after leaving four months ago over Brexit concerns. On 28 February, Eustice said in a letter of resignation that he believed Theresa May’s management of Article 50 would lead the EU to be “dictating the terms” of Brexit negotiations – and risk leaving the UK “humiliated”.
The MP said at the time that, although he had originally campaigned to leave, he had always supported a compromise position to “achieve reconciliation in our country” and had “stuck with the government through a series of rather undignified retreats”.
Now, with pro-Brexit Johnson at the helm, long-term Brexiteer Eustice has resumed his Ministerial post at the Department for Food, the Environment and Rural Affairs (Defra), covering Agriculture, Fisheries and Farming. As such, he will play a key role in developing the UK’s forthcoming Agriculture Bill and Fisheries Bill, designed to preserve standards after Brexit.
Eustice is the only Cornish MP to have been appointed a Government position in Johnson’s new administration, which has already seen Michael Gove moved from the post of Environment Secretary to Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and replaced at Defra by Theresa Villiers.
Villiers, MP for Chipping Barnet, has held various cabinet positions since the Conservative-led coalition in 2010 and is also a member of the Privy Council. She is staunchly against the Heathrow expansion and a long-term campaigner for animal rights and “modal switch” in transport – namely getting people to travel by foot, bike, public or shared transport rather than private vehicles.
However, green campaigners have voiced concerns that Villiers has continually voted in favour of fracking and against mandatory carbon reduction targets, both for businesses and for the nation as a whole.
Another key green economy move in Johnson’s cabinet reshuffle has been the replacing of Greg Clark by Andrea Leadsom as Business Secretary at BEIS. Leadsom served as Minister of State for Energy at the now-defunct Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) from May until the Brexit referendum in 2016, and then as Environment Secretary.
Energy Minister Claire Perry, meanwhile, will be replaced once she returns from emergency leave. She has chosen to step down in order to focus on a new role of COP26 President.