The much anticipated reshuffle of Boris Johnson's government came this week, and there has been a shake-up in the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra). Theresa Villiers has been replaced by George Eustice as Secretary of State, and Victoria Prentis has come into Defra as a Parliamentary Under Secretary now Mr Eustice has been promoted from Minister of State.
George Eustice has been a Defra Minister since 2013 (with a gap of a few months during the Brexit stand-off last year) and as Farming Minister has been the architect of the Agriculture Bill. He was first elected as the MP for Camborne and Redruth in 2010 and comes from a farming background. His family still run a fruit farm, restaurant and farm shop in Cornwall where they also have a herd of South Devon cattle and the country's oldest herd of the rare breed of pig, the British Lop. No doubt he will make an excellent Secretary of State, as he did Minister, and we look forward to meeting him soon.
Victoria Prentis was elected in 2015 for the rural constituency of Banbury and coming from a farming family, has a broad interest in rural issues. Before being elected to Parliament, Mrs Prentis worked in the Civil Service as a lawyer and sat on the Justice Select Committee in the last parliament.
The rest of the Defra Team remains the same, with Lord Goldsmith as Minister of State and Lord Gardiner and Rebecca Pow as Parliamentary Under Secretaries of State.
We at the Countryside Alliance look forward to working with the whole team at Defra.