DEFRA Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Theresa Villiers has been sacked from the post after just six months in office, as part of today's brutal Cabinet reshuffle by Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Posting to her own facebook page, Ms Villiers – who has long been a champion of farm animal welfare and an opponent of long distance livestock exports – said: "The Prime Minister giveth, the Prime Minister taketh away: just over six months ago, I was delighted to be invited by the Prime Minister to return to government after three years on the backbenches. This morning he told me that I need to make way for someone new.

"I am deeply grateful for having been given the opportunity to serve twice at the highest level of Government, first as Northern Ireland Secretary and then as Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. I tackled both roles with passion, commitment, and huge amounts of hard work.

"Protecting nature and our green spaces is something I have championed throughout my time as MP. While my time at Defra was short, I am proud that under my leadership, we published the most important Environment Bill for decades, setting out a world leading framework to protect nature, improve air quality and tackle plastics pollution; we published an Agriculture Bill with environmental goals at its heart; and a Fisheries Bill which will take back control of our waters and start to reverse the betrayal of our fishing communities which took place when we joined the EU," said Ms Villiers, who was an avowed Brexiteer.

"I also played my part in drafting a Conservative manifesto with stronger commitments on the environment than ever before, including the most ambitious programme any government has ever proposed on planting millions of trees.

"I have driven forward animal welfare improvements and during my tenure at Defra, this government has made a commitment to end the live export of animals for slaughter. We are also banning imports of trophies hunted from endangered animals.

"I have championed our farmers and secured a five year guarantee from the Chancellor on maintaining the farm support which is so vital to helping them produce the high quality, high welfare food which sustains us. I have spoken out strongly on the importance of ensuring our trade policy does not compromise our high standards of food safety, animal welfare or environmental protection. I remain determined to ensure that our farmers are not undercut by food imports produced to lower welfare standards than ours here in the UK," she said – and some political commentators have speculated that it was Ms Villiers' commitment to that position that may have led to her Defra defenestration ahead of the UK's crucial post-Brexit trade negotiations.

Whoever gets the Defra Secretary of State job - which is likely to be announced today - will become the seventh since the Conservatives returned to power in May 2010, joining the list alongside Caroline Spelman, Owen Paterson, Liz Truss, Andrea Leadsom, Michael Gove and Ms Villiers, who came and went with an average shelf life of round a year and seven months.