George Eustice

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George Eustice

Official portrait of George Eustice MP crop 2.jpg
Eustice in 2019
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Assumed office
13 February 2020
Prime MinisterBoris Johnson
Preceded byTheresa Villiers
Minister of State for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food
In office
25 July 2019 – 13 February 2020
Prime MinisterBoris Johnson
Preceded byRobert Goodwill
Succeeded byVictoria Prentis
In office
8 May 2015 – 28 February 2019
Prime MinisterDavid Cameron
Theresa May
Succeeded byRobert Goodwill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food
In office
October 2013 – 8 May 2015
Prime MinisterDavid Cameron
Preceded byDavid Heath
Succeeded byRory Stewart
Member of Parliament
for Camborne and Redruth
Assumed office
6 May 2010
Preceded byConstituency created
Majority8,610 (17.2%)
Personal details
Born (1971-09-28) 28 September 1971 (age 48)
Penzance, Cornwall, England
Political partyConservative
Spouse(s)Katy Eustice[1]

Charles George Eustice (born 28 September 1971) is a British Conservative Party politician and former public relations executive. He has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for Camborne and Redruth since the 2010 general election.[2] As part of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s February 2020 cabinet reshuffle, he was made Environment Secretary, succeeding Theresa Villiers.

In October 2013, as part of Prime Minister David Cameron's Cabinet reshuffle, Eustice was appointed Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food.[3][4] On 11 May 2015 he was promoted to Minister of State within the same department.[5] He resigned from this position on 28 February 2019, but was reappointed by Boris Johnson on 25 July 2019. On 13 February 2020 he joined the Cabinet replacing Theresa Villiers as Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Early life and career[edit]

Eustice was born on 28 September 1971 in Penzance. His parents were Adele (née Olds) and Paul Eustice. He grew up at Trevaskis Fruit Farm, near Hayle.[6][7][8] He was privately educated at Truro Cathedral School[9] then Truro School, followed by Cornwall College at Pool. He was a member of Cornwall Athletic Club based at Carn Brea, Camborne and ran for Cornwall's Cross-Country Team. After finishing his education, he worked in his family business for nine years.

Early political career[edit]

At the 1999 European Parliament Elections Eustice stood unsuccessfully as a candidate for UKIP in the South West of England.[10]

In 2000, Eustice was appointed as Campaign Director for "No",[11] the campaign group to ensure that the UK did not adopt the Euro as the national currency.[10]

Eustice became Head of Press under Conservative Party leader Michael Howard during the 2005 general election. Following the election, he was part of David Cameron's Leadership campaign team and, between 2005–08, served as David Cameron's Press Secretary during his tenure as Leader of the Opposition. On leaving Cameron's office, George Eustice worked for Portland Communications, a public relations company.[12]

On 6 December 2008, Eustice was selected as the official Conservative Party candidate for the Camborne & Redruth Constituency.[13]

Parliamentary career[edit]

Eustice's official Parliament portrait

Eustice was elected as Member of Parliament for Camborne & Redruth on Thursday 6 May 2010 with a majority of 66 votes over the Liberal Democrat incumbent Julia Goldsworthy.[14] He made his maiden speech in the House of Commons on 24 June 2010[15] when he paid tribute to his predecessor and his constituency: "It is a special honour for me to represent my home town. I was brought up between Camborne and Hayle, in Cornwall, and my family have lived and worked in the area for more than 400 years. When one has such deep roots in a constituency, one feels a special responsibility for its long-term future." Later in the same speech he said "My No. 1 priority for the area will be economic regeneration."

Eustice was asked to take a leading role[16] in the successful 2011 “No to AV Referendum” campaign, reportedly as a result of his work for Business for Sterling and the "No" Group, which campaigned to keep the pound and against the adoption of the Euro as currency in the UK.[17]

In September 2011, he argued that Cornwall's heritage should be administered by a Cornish organisation rather than English Heritage.[18]

In September 2011, Eustice, with two other Conservative MPs Andrea Leadsom and Chris Heaton-Harris launched the Fresh Start Group; a pressure group to examine the options for a new UK-EU relationship.[19] He wrote an article in The Guardian on 10 June 2012, which argued for the UK to remain within the EU, but to seek reform from within.[20] On 10 July 2012 the Fresh Start Group released a research paper, which according to The Financial Times, called for "reducing the overall size of the EU budget, overhauling the Common Agricultural Policy to which the UK contributes about £1bn a year and repatriating structural funds."[20]

On 17 May 2012, Eustice was elected to the influential 1922 Committee of Backbench Conservative MPs[21] as part of the "301 Group"[22] of newer MPs.[21]

Eustice has supported statutory underpinning of independent press regulation which arose from the Leveson proposals on 21 June 2012, George Eustice made a submission to the Leveson Inquiry and wrote an article in The Guardian[23] urging both journalists and politicians to back a Royal Charter.[24] Reacting to the letter, Conservative writer Tim Montgomerie argued that greater press regulation was now more likely.[25]

Eustice served as a Member of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee from 12 July 2010 until November 2013 and the Privacy and Injunctions (Joint Committee) between July 2011 and March 2012.[26]

In April 2013, Downing Street announced George Eustice's appointment to the Prime Minister's "Number 10 Policy Board", to advise David Cameron on Energy and Environment issues.[27] Eustice was appointed to work on Conservative rather than Coalition policies, alongside other influential backbenchers such as Jo Johnson, Jesse Norman, and former Cabinet Minister, Peter Lilley.[28]

He was criticised by The Daily Telegraph in November 2012 for signing a letter calling for tougher regulation of the press on the grounds that he had previously been the subject of negative media coverage. The newspaper reported that he had previously been nicknamed "Useless" by some sections of the press and had a difficult relationship with the media because of its treatment of David Cameron when they were working closely together. Eustice responded that the existing system was flawed and that "it would be better by far to have credible and independent regulation much earlier in the process."[29]

On 7 October 2013, Eustice was appointed Parliamentary Under Secretary of State in the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs,[30] with responsibility for farming and food, marine and fisheries, and animal health.[31] On 11 May 2015 he was promoted to Minister of State for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food.[5]

In May 2016, it was reported that Eustice was one of a number of Conservative MPs being investigated by police in the United Kingdom general election, 2015 party spending investigation, for allegedly spending more than the legal limit on constituency election campaign expenses.[32] In May 2017, the Crown Prosecution Service said that while there was evidence of inaccurate spending returns, it did not "meet the test" for further action.[33]

In August 2016, Eustice was one of two Conservative environment ministers who were accused by environmental campaigners of having a conflict of interest over receiving subsidies on their family businesses whilst being involved in developing the plans for the replacement system to the EU farming support.[34]

He was re-elected at the 2015 general election and 2017 general election.

On 28 February 2019, George Eustice resigned from his position as Minister of State for Agriculture, Fisheries & Food, in protest at Prime Minister Theresa May's promise to allow MPs a vote on delaying Brexit if her deal fails to get through. Eustice stated "it would be dangerous to go to the EU cap in hand at the 11th hour and beg for an extension".[35]

Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs[edit]

On 13 February 2020, Eustice was appointed as the new Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs replacing Theresa Villiers. [36] His appointment was viewed as a disappointment to environmental campaigners due to his record on climate change votes.[37] Eustice called the post his "dream job".[38]

Later in February 2020, Eustice refused to guarantee that the UK government would ban chlorinated chicken outright as part of a UK-US trade deal, saying that there were "no plans" to strengthen food standards laws.[39]

Constituency campaigns[edit]

In August 2010, Eustice welcomed the Government’s decision to invest £5 million into the regeneration of Hayle Harbour after two months of discussions.[40] According to the West Briton newspaper, Eustice had lobbied ministers over the issue and further argued local social enterprises and community trusts should be actively involved in regeneration plans.[41]

Eustice pledged in his election campaign to work to reduce the burden of water charges on Cornish homes. At a meeting of the Environmental, Farming and Rural Affairs Select Committee in October 2010 he raised the issue of higher water rates paid by South West England consumers and challenged Regina Finn, Chief Executive of Ofwat[42] to implement the recommendations of the Walker Review[43] which could lead to a decrease in water rates for South West consumers.[44] In June 2013, Eustice welcomed the third annual taxpayer-funded subsidy of £50 for all South West Water customers which the Chancellor, George Osborne, announced in the Comprehensive Spending Review on 26 June.[45] In November 2013, he welcomed South West Water’s price freeze until 2015.[46]

In March 2013, Eustice called for the Cornwall Centre,[47] the new facility to house the county’s store of historic manuscripts and Cornish materials, to be based in Redruth.[48] Eustice based his call for the local to be Redruth because of the strong mining tradition in the town, which led to widespread migration across the world.[49] The decision to base the facility in Redruth was announced in September 2013, which Eustice welcomed.[50]

Before his election, Eustice campaigned for government funding to build a £27m east–west link road at Tuckingmill, linking Camborne, Pool and Redruth. The road would run from Wilson Way to Dolcoath Road. Cornwall Council also supported the bid, claiming the new road would provide access to "proposed development areas" and remove traffic from the A3047 and the East Hill junction, reduce congestion, noise and improve air quality, "whilst allowing regeneration projects in the area to proceed over the coming years, supporting economic growth". The project received Department for Transport approval on 26 November 2012[51][52] and on Thursday 16 May 2013, Patrick McLoughlin the Secretary of State for Transport cut the first turf to formally mark the start of work on the £27m road.[53] The road, which received substantial funding from the European Regional Development Fund, was completed in November 2015.[54]

Eustice led Conservative Party opposition[55] to the Conservative Government’s plans to impose VAT on hot food, which was also known as the “pasty tax"[56] which eventually led to what opponents claimed was a “u-turn” in Government policy. He welcomed the reverse in policy.”[55]

Personal life[edit]

Eustice has been married to Katy Taylor-Richards since 20 May 2013; their ceremony took place in the Chapel of St. Mary Undercroft at the Palace of Westminster.[57]


  1. ^ "House of Commons – The Register of Members' Financial Interests – Part 2: Part 2". Retrieved 7 October 2013.
  2. ^ "Camborne & Redruth parliamentary constituency – Election 2015". BBC News. 1 January 1970. Retrieved 18 February 2016.
  3. ^ "Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs". Parliament.UK. Retrieved 13 February 2020.
  4. ^ "George Eustice MP". UK Parliament. 13 February 2020. Retrieved 13 February 2020.
  5. ^ a b "George Eustice MP". GOV.UK. Retrieved 22 November 2018.
  6. ^ "Index entry". FreeBMD. ONS. Retrieved 14 December 2017.
  7. ^ "Who's Who". Retrieved 7 October 2013.
  8. ^ "About". Trevaskis Farm. Retrieved 18 February 2016.
  9. ^ Eustice, George (28 March 2011). "George's Online Diary: Who killed Truro Cathedral School?". Retrieved 18 February 2016.
  10. ^ a b Wheeler, Brian (31 May 2002). "Anti-euro campaign shuns 'political elite'". BBC News.
  11. ^ "Anti-euro campaign launched". BBC News. 4 September 2000.
  12. ^ James Robinson. "Tory former press secretary George Eustice joins Portland | Media". The Guardian. Retrieved 18 February 2016.
  13. ^ "ConservativeHome's Seats & Candidates blog: George Eustice selected to oust Julia Goldsworthy". 6 December 2008. Retrieved 18 February 2016.
  14. ^ "Election 2010 | Constituency | Camborne & Redruth". BBC News. 1 January 1970. Retrieved 18 February 2016.
  15. ^ "House of Commons Hansard Debates for 24 Jun 2010 (pt 0015)". 24 June 2010. Retrieved 18 February 2016.
  16. ^ "George Eustice No to AV". West Briton. 7 April 2011. Archived from the original on 5 September 2014. Retrieved 18 February 2016.
  17. ^ Nicholas Watt. "Tories pick anti-euro campaigners to lead 'no to AV' referendum drive". The Guardian. Retrieved 18 February 2016.
  18. ^ Briton, West (29 September 2011). "Heritage is not English; it's ours". West Briton. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 18 February 2016.
  19. ^ "Tory MPs set out demands for return of powers from EU". BBC News. 10 July 2012.
  20. ^ a b George Eustice. "Britain can do better than leave the EU. We can change it | George Eustice | Opinion". The Guardian. Retrieved 18 February 2016.
  21. ^ a b "New faces elected on to influential Conservative 1922 committee". BBC News. 17 May 2012.
  22. ^ "Leadership ruffles backbench feathers in 1922 elections – Westminster". 17 May 2012. Retrieved 18 February 2016.
  23. ^ Reforming media regulation : Submission by George Eustice MP to module 4 of the Leveson Inquiry.
  24. ^ "Letters: How should the press be regulated?". The Guardian. Retrieved 18 February 2016.
  25. ^ "42 Tory MPs open door to statutory regulation of Britain's newspaper industry in potentially historic intervention". Archived from the original on 4 September 2014. Retrieved 22 November 2018.
  26. ^ "Parliamentary Profile". Parliament. Retrieved 1 September 2018.
  27. ^ "Camborne and Redruth MP George Eustice takes up post on Downing St board". West Briton. 26 April 2013. Archived from the original on 5 September 2014. Retrieved 18 February 2016.
  28. ^ Jessica Shankleman (15 May 2013). "Exclusive: George Eustice to advise Cameron on energy and climate change". Retrieved 18 February 2016.
  29. ^ "MPs involved in scandals accused of 'hypocrisy' over calls for tougher regulation of the press". The Daily Telegraph. 9 November 2012. Retrieved 1 September 2018.
  30. ^ "Ministerial reshuffle: Cornwall's George Eustice and Dan Rogerson in, Somerset's Jeremy Browne out". Western Morning News. 7 October 2013. Archived from the original on 5 December 2013. Retrieved 18 February 2016.
  31. ^ "George Eustice MP". GOV.UK. Retrieved 18 February 2016.
  32. ^ "Election Expenses Exposed". Channel 4 News. 23 June 2016. Retrieved 20 August 2018.
  33. ^ "No charges over 2015 Conservative battle bus cases". BBC. Retrieved 1 September 2018.
  34. ^ "Environment ministers accused of conflict of interest over farm subsidies". The Guardian. 4 August 2016. Retrieved 1 September 2018.
  35. ^ BBC News (28 February 2019) Minister George Eustice quits over Brexit delay vote.
  36. ^ Minister, UK Prime (13 February 2020). "George Eustice MP has been appointed Secretary of State". @10DowningStreet. Retrieved 13 February 2020.
  37. ^ Missing or empty |title= (help)
  38. ^ Becquart, Charlotte (17 February 2020). "Cornwall MP George Eustice speaks of landing 'dream job' at the top of Government". Cornwall Live. Retrieved 23 February 2020.
  39. ^ Sparrow, Andrew (23 February 2020). "George Eustice refuses to guarantee ban on chlorinated chicken". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 February 2020.
  40. ^ Cornishman, The (27 March 2012). "Minister gives nod to redevelop Hayle harbour". West Briton. Retrieved 18 February 2016.
  41. ^ [1][dead link]
  42. ^ Ofwat's response to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs consultation on the draft National Policy Statement for Waste Water. Ofwat
  43. ^ "The independent review of charging for household water and sewerage services (Walker review) – Publications". GOV.UK. 6 December 2011. Retrieved 18 February 2016.
  44. ^ Formal minutes of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee. (13 July 2010)
  45. ^ [2][dead link]
  46. ^ The Price is on Ice.
  47. ^ "The Cornwall Centre – Cornwall Council". Retrieved 18 February 2016.
  48. ^ George Eustice MP calls for the Cornish Archive Centre to come to Redruth. Camborne, Redruth & Hayle Conservatives and your local MP George Eustice (14 March 2012)
  49. ^ [3][dead link]
  50. ^ Briton, West (27 September 2012). "Redruth chosen to host Cornwall's archives and records". West Briton. Archived from the original on 5 September 2014. Retrieved 18 February 2016.
  51. ^ "New Camborne, Pool and Redruth link road helps to create 6,000 jobs". West Briton. 26 November 2012. Archived from the original on 5 September 2014. Retrieved 18 February 2016.
  52. ^ "New Camborne, Pool and Redruth link road helps to create 6,000 jobs". West Briton. 26 November 2012. Archived from the original on 5 September 2014. Retrieved 18 February 2016.
  53. ^ "£16 million to kick-start regeneration in Cornwall – Press releases". GOV.UK. 21 February 2013. Retrieved 18 February 2016.
  54. ^ "Camborne to Redruth Link Complete". Cornwall Council. 17 November 2015. Retrieved 1 September 2018.
  55. ^ a b Winnett, Robert (28 May 2012). "George Osborne backs down on pasty tax". The Daily Telegraph. London.
  56. ^ Patrick Wintour; Owen Bowcott; Richard Norton-Taylor. "George Osborne forced into pasty tax U-turn | Politics". The Guardian. Retrieved 18 February 2016.
  57. ^ "Cornwall MP George Eustice marries his sweetheart". Western Morning News. 20 May 2013. Archived from the original on 5 September 2014. Retrieved 18 February 2016.

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
New constituency Member of Parliament for Camborne and Redruth
Political offices
Preceded by
Theresa Villiers
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs