Ranil Jayawardena replaces George Eustice as Defra Secretary

(Photo: Official portrait of Mr Ranil Jayawardena MP | members.parliament.uk | CC BY 3.0)
(Photo: Official portrait of Mr Ranil Jayawardena MP | members.parliament.uk | CC BY 3.0)

Ranil Jayawardena has become the new Defra Secretary following a reshuffle by Prime Minister Liz Truss.

George Eustice was dropped from the post after the new prime minister reshuffled the cabinet on Tuesday evening (6 September).

Replacing him is Ranil Jayawardena, who becomes the UK's eighth Environment Secretary since 2010.

An MP for North East Hampshire since 2015, he previously served as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for International Trade, a post he had for two years.

A relatively unknown figure, his past voting record shows he has consistently voted against measures to prevent climate change.

Responding to his new role, Mr Jayawardena said it was a 'privilege' to be appointed 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," he said, adding that it was also important to recognise where food came from.

"I recently met local farmers with the NFU, to discuss the government’s support for British farming and the export growth ahead."

Mr Eustice, who had been Defra Secretary since February 2020, said that it had been a 'privilege' to work within the department for the past nine years.

The current farming minister Victoria Prentis said she was 'very sorry' to see Mr Eustice leave the government.

"As farming minister and more recently as Secretary of State, George - a farmer himself - has been an almost constant presence in Defra for 9 years," she said.