Is Defra for the chop?
There are rumours that the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs could be disbanded in the latest round of government cuts. It has already been severely weakened in staffing terms.
Food and farming could go to the Department of Business; environment could go to Energy and Climate Change (DECC); rural development could go to Communities and Local Government. Indeed, one could rebadge DECC as the Department of Environment, Energy and Climate Change. It is not clear who would deal with animal health and welfare.
Needless to say this hasn't gone down too well with farmers' representatives, even though some of them formed the view that Defra stood for Department for the Elimination of Farming and Rural Activity. They preferred the old clientist MAFF. But they fear that if Defra went, farming and food would not be properly represented at the Cabinet table.
Objectors say it is not clear who would lead on CAP reform, although the Treasury might like that role.