FORMER farm minister George Eustice has been promoted to Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Mr Eustice took over as environment minister from Theresa Villiers as part of a Cabinet reshuffle on Thursday.

In 2018, he visited Tynedale alongside farming and agriculture experts and business leaders to discuss the Government’s position on the industry, trade and Brexit.

Hexham’s MP Guy Opperman said: “George has a wealth of knowledge and experience, which comes from many years as a minister in the department .

“I know he understands well the challenges and opportunities facing the farming and agriculture sector at this crucial time.

“He has always taken the time to understand the specific issues here in Tynedale and has visited on a number of occasions.

“I look forward to continue working with him as the vitally important Agriculture and Environment Bills make their way through Parliament.”

NFU president Minette Batters said the secretary of state’s support would be crucial as British farming faced new opportunities and challenges in life outside the EU, and would play a key part in ensuring Britain’s food values were not compromised in future trade deals.

She said: “British farming is among the best in the world at producing safe, traceable and nutritious food.

“I look forward to working with the new secretary of state to position British food and farming as a global leader in sustainable, high quality climate-friendly food.”