Steve Barclay has taken over from Thérèse Coffey as secretary of state at Defra following Dr Coffey’s resignation on November 13, the day of Rishi Sunak’s government reshuffle.
Mr Barclay, who has been MP for North East Cambridgeshire since 2010, was previously health secretary. He is the ninth Defra environment secretary in 10 years.
In her resignation letter Dr Coffey, who was appointed 12 months ago but had served as a junior minister in the past, said “it is now the right time to step back from government.”
She added: “Having a sustainable farming and food sector is critical for our long term food security, and by listening to farmers and making changes, I am confident we can deliver that sustainability and strengthen both our farming and fishing sectors.”