Farming Minister George Eustice promoted to top job at Defra after Villiers sacked

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Long-serving Farming Minister George Eustice has been promoted to Defra Secretary after his former boss, Theresa Villiers, was given the sack.

Mr Eustice’s appointment will provide some continuity for the department as it seeks to implement the radical changes proposed in the Agriculture Bill over the coming years.

He has already served as a Defra Minister for over six years and the decision to promote him will likely mean planning for the new Environmental Land Management Scheme (ELMS) can continue with little delay.

But Mr Eustice will undoubtedly be keen to leave his own stamp on the brief in other ways.

He is known to favour reform of tenancy law, and in an exclusive interview with Farmers Guardian in July last year, he said he wanted to put a stop to non-stun religious slaughter – something his predecessor Ms Villiers had ruled out.

Some farmers on social media welcomed the news that he was in the running for the job earlier today, describing him as ‘competent’ and saying his experience is required at the top of Defra at this time.

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