Michael Gove named as new environment secretary at Defra following reshuffle

Michael Gove appointed environment secretary in cabinet reshuffle
Michael Gove appointed environment secretary in cabinet reshuffle

Michael Gove has been named the new environment secretary at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) in Theresa May's post-election reshuffle.

Andrea Leadsom, who was appointed environment secretary on 14 July 2016, has now been appointed as leader of the House of Commons.

Theresa May continues to build her new Government after a slew of key appointments today (11 June).

The weakened Prime Minister has reshuffled her cabinet in an attempt to stay in power following Thursday’s disastrous election result for the Conservative party.

Former Chancellor George Osborne called her a “dead woman walking” while other former ministers said her position was “untenable” and she would never lead the party into another General Election.

For Michael Gove, DEFRA faces some of the toughest challenges of any Government department as Brexit looms.

The EU Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), which many farmers rely on, will have to be replaced with a UK-focused system.

'Significant experience'

Rural organisation the CLA, which represents landowners and farmers, said Gove will bring 'significant' experience.

CLA President Ross Murray said: “I am pleased to welcome Michael Gove to the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs brief.

“He brings significant experience, a reputation for robust challenge of the status quo and a reformer’s zeal. These are all qualities that will serve the land based sector well.

“Defra has a major role to play in both the negotiations and in preparing for life after the UK exits the EU.

“I look forward to working with him and his team and we are eager to get on with addressing the big challenges ahead.”

No previous experience

Michael Gove has no agricultural, farming or environmental experience in any of his previous political offices.

As education secretary, Gove was criticised for trying to remove climate change from the national geography curriculum.

He has previously voted in favour of badger culling.

Born in Edinburgh, Gove was raised in Aberdeen and attended Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford University, where he took a BA in English, graduating with a 2:1, after which he began his career as a journalist.

Michael Gove was Secretary of State for Education from 2010-14 and Secretary of State for Justice from 2015-16.

He has been the Member of Parliament for Surrey Heath since 2005.

In 2016, Gove played a major role in the UK's referendum on EU membership as the co-convenor of Vote Leave and along with Boris Johnson, became a key figurehead of the campaign.

Following Theresa May's appointment as Prime Minister in 2016, May did not appoint him to the Cabinet.

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