AFTER Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s cabinet reshuffle, pro-Brexit MP Theresa Villiers has been named the new Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Ms Villiers, who replaced George Eustice last week, has since been urged by agriculture bodies to safeguard the country’s farmers and food producers ahead of October 31.

NFU president Minette Batters invited Ms Villiers on to her farm, so that she could “see first hand the work that goes in to producing the country’s food and its potential for the future.”

Mrs Batters also said that she looked forward to working closely with Ms Villiers to help forge the positive future of farming and food production in this country, but said central to that would be to ensure the UK left the EU, “our closest neighbours”, in a smooth and orderly manner, which included free and frictionless trade deal.

Mrs Batters said: “We urge the new Secretary of State to follow up on the promise of her predecessor and commit to a high-level commission to avoid British food production standards being undermined in the pursuit of post-Brexit trade deals.”

CLA president Tim Breitmeyer welcomed Ms Villiers to her new role, but said many farmers across the country suffered “grave concerns” over her recent comments in support of a no deal Brexit.

Mr Brietmeyer said: “Currently 60 per cent of our food exports go to the EU. Were draconian tariffs put in place, world class British produce would become uncompetitive in our largest market overnight.

“Having said that, there are also tremendous opportunities. We are global leaders in producing quality food to high welfare standards. As landowners we are key to meeting ambitions on climate change and the environment. The rural economy has extraordinary potential ready to be unleashed.”