New ministers appointed at Defra ahead of next election

Defra has appointed two new ministers, George Eustice and Dan Rogerson. David Heath leaves after a year and Richard Benyon after three. Owen Paterson and Lord De Mauley remain in post.

Eustice's family owns Trevaskis Fruit Farm in Cornwall. He and Rogerson were members of the Commons Environment, Food & Rural Affairs Committee. Eustice is now parliamentary under secretary of state for natural environment, water and rural affairs, looking after natural environment, biodiversity, fisheries, water, national parks, rights of way, and inland waterways.

Rogerson's role as a Defra under secretary is yet to be defined. Heath was minister during the ash dieback crisis. Benyon helped deal with peat, drought and neonicotinoid issues.

HTA horticulture head Raoul Curtis-Machin said: "They are focusing on the upcoming election and refreshing before the final push. We want to find out what they bring to the table."

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