Reports suggest that the ex-deputy chief whip will play a key role in post-Brexit policy on fishing and farming. The widely-respected figure – a well-known remain-backer – is expected to keep a close check on the Brexiteer inclinations of Defra Secretary Michael Gove, who has previously said that regulations under the EU’s Habitats Directive should be scrapped.

Randall stepped down as Uxbridge MP in 2015 after 18 years in office, his position being filled by Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson. He is the fourth former Tory MP to enter No.10’s inner circle since the Conservative’s disastrous General Election campaign.

‘Well-liked and well-trusted’

Randall has a strong environmental background, a former trustee of nature conservation charity RSPB who was appointed special envoy on modern slavery to the Mayor of London in February 2016. The political heavyweight has sat on the Environment, Transport and Regional Affairs (Efra) Select Committee, and is a strong opponent of Heathrow Airport expansion.

His appointment has been welcomed by members of the environmental community. In a blog post yesterday (29 August), wildlife campaigner Mark Avery expressed his hope that Randall would keep pressure on the “fine words” of Gove, who has vowed to deliver a “green” Brexit.

“Sir John is well-liked and well-trusted among MPs of all parties but particularly among many sitting Conservative MPs who have known him for a long time and seen him operate in his own quiet and sensible way. Let’s hope John can encourage Michael Gove to live up to his fine words.”

George Ogleby

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