Thursday, July 14, 2016

Andrea Leadsom is new Defra secretary

Andrea Leadsom, formerly a junior minister at the Department of Energy and Climate Change, is the new Defra secretary of state. A Warwick University politics graduate, she stood down from the leadership race against Theresa May after her performance in the referendum debates had raised her profile.

She faces a challenging task. Brexit has important implications for the agriculture and food sector. Food processing is one of the country's most important industries and is particularly significant in the North of England. (The writer should declare that he is a substantial shareholder in Cranswick plc, the Hull-based food processor which is a FTSE 250 company).

One of the challenges is that Defra has been hollowed out as a department. Does it have the capacity and the resources to ensure that agriculture and food is taken sufficiently seriously by the new 'Brexit' department (we await its official title) headed by another Warwick graduate, David Davis?

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