New Prime Minister Liz Truss has appointed Ranil Jayawardena as Defra Secretary in her first Cabinet.
The Hampshire MP replaces George Eustice, who has been sacked after two years in the role, and prior to that, five years as a Minister at Defra.
Mr Jayawardena, who is just 36, takes on the Defra role, after serving as Minister for International Trade since May 2020. He was elected as the Conservative MP for North East Hampshire in 2015.
In his previous role, he played a part in the new trade deals with Australia and New Zealand that have been criticised for granting significant market access to the UK for Australian and New Zealand farmers, while offering negligible for UK farmers.
Commenting on Twitter, he said it was ‘a privilege’ to be appointed as the Secretary of State for Defra. “From food security and backing British farmers, to water security and growing our rural economy, I know that there is much to do. It is so important to recognise where our food comes from,” he said.
“This year in North East Hampshire alone, we will consume:
11 million eggs
550 tons of beef
17 million pints of milk
“I recently met local farmers with the NFU, to discuss the government’s support for British farming and the export growth ahead.”
He also published a video of himself engaging with farmers to demonstrate how he was ‘backing British farming’, which can be viewed HERE
Before serving as a minister, he was a member of the International Trade, Home Affairs, Procedure and Arms Export Controls Committees, and had been appointed by the Speaker of the House of Commons to the Chairmens’ Panel.
He was also made Deputy Chairman of the Conservative Party by the Prime Minister. Prior to his election to Parliament, he was a councillor, serving as deputy leader of the Borough of Basingstoke and Deane.
He combined his service in local government with working for Lloyds Banking Group plc and is a freeman of the City of London. He also has wide ranging commercial experience from the pharmaceutical, construction, transport and leisure sectors.
Mr Eustice, leading voice in the farming Leave campaign, was one of a number of Cabinet Ministers who have lost their roles after supporting Mrs Truss’s leadership rival Rishi Sunak.
- You can follow him on Twitter HERE
NPA chief executive Lizzie Wilson said: “We welcome Ranil Jayawardena to the role and look forward to working with him and his Ministerial team in a number of key policy areas that will be critical to the short-and long-term survival of the British pig industry.”
Tony Goodger, of the Association of Independent Meat Suppliers (AIMS) said Mr Eustice ‘understood our industry and the challenges that our members faced in terms of over burdensome regulation and spiralling costs’.
“We thank him for the time he gave us and wish him well for the future. These challenges of course remain for the new Defra Secretary of State, Ranil Jayawardena and we look forward to early engagement with him and his new ministerial team,” he said.
“We trust that Mr Jayawardena will use his understanding of global markets gained from his previous role in International Trade to unblock the obstacles that currently exist in respect of site approvals for pork exports to China and to further unlock opportunities for our members in other overseas markets.”