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UK Environment Secretary out amid cabinet reshuffle

13 February 2020

Theresa Villiers, head of the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has been removed from her post amid a cabinet reshuffle.

According to reporting from the BBC, Environment Secretary Theresa Villiers and other cabinet members have left the government as part of PM Boris Johnson’s post-Brexit strategy overhaul.

In a Facebook post, Villiers said: “What the Prime Minister giveth, the Prime Minister taketh away: just over six months ago, I was delighted to be invited by the Prime Minister to return to government after three years on the back benches. This morning he told me that I need to make way for someone new.”

According to the BBC, she said that she was “sad” to longer be a part of the cabinet, but she said the Prime Minister would continue to have her “full support”.

Though Villiers resided in her post as Environment Secretary for six months, she sustained the policies developed under her predecessor Michael Gove. While at Defra, Michael Gove was known for consulting with different experts while creating environmental policy. The Agriculture Bill and Environment Bill, key pieces of legislation that safeguard the UK’s environment, were developed during his tenure.

Villiers submitted these bills to the House of Commons without removing the frameworks that make them impactful. The legislation still contains legally binding targets for air quality, water quality and resource use.

In a recent podcast, the Director of the Conservative Environment Network (CEN) discussed the network’s next plans for the UK’s food production, agricultural land use and the environmental opportunities arising from Brexit. The UK still has an 11-month transition period after the 31 January Brexit date so the UK’s climate promises may be subject to revision.

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