George Eustice could be demoted in next cabinet reshuffle

Environment secretary George Eustice

Environment secretary George Eustice - Credit: Parliament Live

The environment secretary is reportedly one of the cabinet ministers who could be demoted by Boris Johnson in the next reshuffle.

George Eustice is said to be among those “due for the chop” after a disagreement over the post-Brexit trade deal with Australia, with the minister expressing concerns over the impact on farmers.

MPs have heard how Eustice risks being remembered as the man who “betrayed our fishing industry” with Brexit and “betrayed” UK farmers over a trade deal with Australia.

Speaking in the Commons, shadow environment secretary Luke Pollard said: “I hope today isn’t the Secretary of State’s last Defra questions because of the rumours from Downing Street that he’s due for the chop.

“But if it were to be true, how will the Secretary of State be spending his next few weeks ensuring that he’s not remembered as the Secretary of State who betrayed our fishing industry and rolled over and betrayed our farmers over an Australian trade deal?”

Eustice replied: “Well, ministers never comment on reshuffle speculation – particularly when it’s about one’s self.

“But, in the context of fishing we have recently got an agreement with the EU on how to approach shared stocks for the remainder of this year.

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“We have got an increase in quota of around 25% – 15% of that coming this year – and we’ve deployed that to actually almost double the fishing opportunities for our inshore fleet in this year.”

Eustice, an outspoken Brexiteer, was appointed environment secretary in February 2020, having previously been a junior minister in the department.

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