EFRA committee chair Parish backs Gove as future leader

Influential EFRA committee chairman Neil Parish MP has backed Michael Gove to replace Theresa May, who will leave her job on 7 June, as Prime Minister.

As chair of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee, charged with scrutiny of Defra, Parish has scrutinised Gove's recent Agriculture Bill and Environment Bill, among others.

Parish said: "Michael Gove has been a stand out communicator when he has appeared in front of the Select Committee - and his eye for detail means I am confident Defra is in a strong position as we leave the EU.

"Furthermore, he has demonstrated time and again that he truly understands the needs of our farmers. He wants to see a productive and prosperous farming industry in this country, and he has seized the opportunities brought about by Brexit to try to make this happen.

"Michael is ready to lead and I am pleased to back him to be our next Prime Minister and Leader of the Conservative and Unionist Party."

Gove was a May loyalist and voted to leave the EU, but wants a deal. He has offered to introduce free UK citizenship for more than 3m EU citizens living here who would, if they stay, eventually become eligible.

Fellow leadership candidate Rory Stewart MP has said his first stated first policy would be to plant 120 million native trees in four months. The International Development Secretary is a Remainer.

Esther McVey, Andrea Leadsom, Dominic Raab, Boris Johnson, Kit Malthouse, Sajid Javid, James Cleverly, Mark Harper, Matt Hancock and Jeremy Hunt are also standing.

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