Former Immigration Minister Robert Goodwill has been appointed as Farming Minister, following the shock resignation of George Eustice last week.
Mr Goodwill, who is from a farming background, was elected Conservative MP for Scarborough and Whitby in 2005. He will take over at a critical time for agriculture on the eve of the UK’s departure from the EU and with the Agriculture Bill to steer through Parliament.
His most recent role in Government was as an Education Minister from June 2017 to January 2018. Prior to that, he held the important post of Immigration Minister at the Home Office and was one of the focal points for farming industry efforts to persuade the Government about the importance of retaining access to EU labour after we leave. He was at times a source of frustration as he appeared unwilling to acknowledge or understand these concerns.
His Defra biography notes that Mr Goodwill has been a farmer since 1979, with 250 acres of land near Malton, which has been in his family since 1850. He has also been the managing director of Mowthorpe since 1995, a company offering environmentally friendly burials in the North Yorkshire countryside.
Defra Secretary Michael Gove said he was delighted to welcome Robert Goodwill to the Defra team. “Robert’s hands on knowledge of farming at the sharp end, experience in European politics, great ministerial record and shrewd judgment are an asset to Government,” he said.