So Richard Benyon, Biodiversity and Fisheries Minister, has gone. One of the innocents sent for sacrificial slaughter yesterday in the first reshuffle run almost completely on Twitter.
Benyon had done nothing wrong, he was just too old and too rich. And possibly not female, though in fact the much vaunted reshuffle to bring more women into the ministerial team seems to have been overplayed in the tory press.
I’m not a tory but I have to say I thought Richard Benyon was a good minister, particularly for his stand on fisheries and the CFP. I also thought he had his heart in the right place on biodiversity, though given the biodiversity process has no teeth, it’s no surprise that it has stalled (again).
Yes Richard was too prone to lobbying by the field sports industry, with Buzzardgate and the Walshaw Moor fiasco being embarrassing episodes. But overall I thought he did a good job and it’s always frustrating to lose someone who has mastered their brief.
George Eustice replaces him. Eustice is Cornish and grew up on a Fruit farm. Why is he not a Lib Dem? In fact he stood for UKIP, but fortunately stepped away from that particular flame. He was Cameron’s press officer and more recently has been a key Cabinet office Energy Adviser. He is known for his anti wind turbine and solar farm views, though is not a climate change sceptic. Surprisingly he also wrote in support of Friends of the Earth’s Bee Cause neonicotinoid campaign. Could this presage and change in position on bees within Defra? Don’t hold your breath.