Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s sacking of Home Secretary Suella Braverman has brought wider changes to the UK Government.

Former Health Secretary Steve Barclay steps into the Defra role following the resignation of Theresa Coffey.

In her letter to the PM, Ms. Coffey described DEFRA as the “voice and guardian of nature, food security, and our countryside communities”, adding she was pleased to publish the Environmental Improvement Plan, launch the Plan for Water, and help secure the Global Biodiversity Framework in Montreal.

She said: “I have strengthened the foundations for Defra to deliver here in the UK and globally.”

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Responding, Rishi Sunak pointed to Ms Coffey’s hard work to deliver for rural communities, stating she had “driven work across Government to support the rural economy.”

Mr Barclay’s appointment is the latest in a string of ministerial roles for the North East Cambridge MP.

His previous posts include Secretary of State for Exiting the EU, Minister for the Cabinet Office, and most recently, Health Secretary.

Taking to social media, Mr. Barclay said he is “delighted” at the appointment and pledged to back British farming and fishing, champion rural communities, and protect the environment.

Prior to entering politics, Mr Barclay worked as an insurance company lawyer for Axa Insurance, as a regulator for the Financial Services Authority, as Director of Regulatory Affairs, and then as Head of Anti-Money Laundering and Sanctions at Barclays Retail Bank.

Former rural surveyor and current Keighley MP Robbie Moore also joins Defra as a minister.

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Mr Moore, who has served as a member of the environment, food, and rural affairs committee since his election in 2019, said he is “incredibly excited” to be appointed to the role: “Having been involved in the food and farming sector all my life, I can’t wait to get to work to help our rural communities, protect our environment and deliver for our fantastic farming businesses up and down the country.”

British Association for Shooting and Conservation political affairs manager Jak Abrahams said: “We are delighted to welcome Mr Barclay to his new role as Secretary of State for Defra and look forward to continuing our work with him.

“There are a range of challenges on the horizon and BASC will engage with Mr Barclay and the Defra team on behalf of our members and the wider shooting and conservation community.”

NFU President Minette Batters said: “I’d like to thank Thérèse Coffey for her work as Defra Secretary of State over the past year.

“It is a challenging time for many farmers and growers, and I look forward to working with Steve Barclay to help secure a positive future for British food and farming.”

British Veterinary Association President Anna Judson said the new Secretary enters the job “at a critical time” but warned the Veterinary Surgeons Act required an overhaul describing it as “unfit for purpose.”

The capacity of the new ministers to shape the policy direction of the government is limited by the next general election which will take place before the end of January 2025.