Theresa Villiers appointed new Defra secretary of state

Theresa Villiers, a former Northern Ireland Secretary, has been appointed as the new Defra Secretary in Boris Johnson’s first Cabinet.

After a stint in which he raised Defra’s profile and set out a post-Brexit vision for UK agriculture, Michael Gove has left the Department to take up the role of Cabinet Secretary, including a specific remit for no deal Brexit planning.

Villiers, a former MEP and MP for Chipping Barnet in London since 2005, was Northern Ireland Secretary between 2012 and 2016. She campaigned strongly for Brexit in 2016.

She has campaigned on animal welfare issues, including supporting CIWF’s campaign to ‘End the cage’ and ending live exports. She is a supporter of the Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation.

Writing on her Facebook page after accepting the post, Villiers said: “I feel very honoured to have been asked by the Prime Minister to return to the Cabinet, taking on the role of Secretary of State for the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. I have championed a number of the issues covered by the department, including animal welfare and improving air quality. My new responsibilities will therefore complement many of my local campaigns in my constituency, such as protecting our green spaces.”

She enters Johnson’s Cabinet as part of the biggest Ministerial shake-up ever during a Government term.

Villiers served as Secretary of State for Northern Ireland from September 2012 until July 2016. Previously she served as Minister of State for Transport from May 2010 until September 2012. She was elected the Conservative MP for Chipping Barnet in 2005.

Career summary:

  • MP for Chipping Barnet 2005 to present
  • MEP for London 1999 to 2005
  • Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury 2005 to 2007
  • Shadow Secretary of State for Transport 2007 to 2010
  • Minister of State for Transport 2010 to 2012
  • Secretary of State for Northern Ireland September 2012 to 2016

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