THERESA MAY’s decision to appoint Robert Goodwill as Farming and Fisheries Minister appears to be an eminently sensible one after the abrupt resignation of George Eustice over Brexit.
Now number two to Michael Gove at Defra, this appears to be a rare occasion where a new Minister is suitably qualified for the post that they have been awarded – many past appointments appear to have been determined very randomly.
A longstanding farmer who will need no introduction to the issues, Mr Goodwill’s previous stint at the Home Office – he was Immigration Minister – will also serve him well as Brexit negotiations reach their supposed conclusion. Like others who work in agriculture, the Scarborough and Whitby MP will appreciate, more than most, that many farmers do depend on migrants to harvest crops, and the like, and this can only help to reassure a sector which, like the rest of the country, is deeply divided over Brexit.
But there are other reasons to welcome this appointment after the Prime Minister surprised many by sacking Mr Goodwill, a loyalist and Remainer to boot, in her January 2018 reshuffle. A prominent supporter of the One Yorkshire and Northern Powerhouse policy agendas, the senior Tory has become a powerful advocate for the rural economy and unlocking the potential of countryside, and coastal, communities.
Given this, The Yorkshire Post looks forward to Mr Goodwill bringing his influence to bear across the Government so that the needs of rural Britain move up the political, and economic, agenda if and when Brexit is reconciled.