New UK ‘agriculture’ minister could revisit ban on fox hunting

Andrea Leadsom, who has been put in charge of the UK’s agriculture portfolio, has said she could revisit the UK’s ban on fox hunting.

As recently as during the Conservative leadership campaign, which she entered briefly, she said that she wanted to un-ban fox hunting.

“I would absolutely commit to holding a vote to repeal the hunting ban. It has not proven to be in the interests of animal welfare whatsoever,” she said during the campaign.

Leadsom, who was previously engaged in the Department of Energy, had also questioned whether or not climate change existed.

The woman who challenged for the leadership of the Conservative party in the UK, was appointed as the new Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, which governs agriculture.

Her appointment comes following Theresa May’s appointment as Prime Minister in the UK and May appointed Leadsom to replace Elizabeth Truss who has been in the post for two years.

Leadsom is a Member of Parliament for South Northamptonshire and was elected as the first MP for South Northamptonshire with a majority of over 20,000 votes.

She has previously held the position of Minister for Energy at the Department of Energy and Climate Change.

Leadsom was on the Brexit campaign side ahead of the recent UK referendum and was Theresa May’s rival for leader of the Conservative Party.

She holds a degree in Political Science from Warwick University and after university she began a career in the banking and finance industry that would last 25 years.

She tweeted that she is “delighted to be Secretary of State with DEFRA at this historic time”. She also wished Truss all the best in her new role.

Meanwhile, the National Farmers Union (NFU) President Meurig Raymond congratulated Leadsom on her appointment as DEFRA Secretary of State.

“I, along with the rest of the NFU officeholder team, will be looking to arrange a meeting with her as soon as possible.

“The NFU hopes it can work with her in a similarly productive manner as it did with her predecessor Liz Truss.”

He said that following a period of uncertainty we are now entering a significant time for the nation following the Brexit vote.

The NFU and farming industry is looking forward to working closely with Leadsom as we together help forge the future of farming and food production in this country.

“At the forefront will be a new domestic agricultural policy. This should encourage growth, innovation, productivity and profitability.

However, Raymond said that there are also many issues that need addressing more immediately.

“We need a simpler application process and improved delivery for BPS; we need a guarantee from Government that agreements for farmers in agri-environment schemes will be honoured in full; we need a continuing commitment to the 25-year TB eradication strategy.

“And above all, we hope that Leadsom will champion British food and farming. Our industry has a great story to tell and it’s an industry that is optimistic about meeting the challenges ahead.”