Hilary Benn was appointed DEFRA secretary two years ago and the vegetarian minister was quick to tell farmers: "Judge me on what I do, not what I eat."
So what is your judgement of what he has done over the past 24 months? Where has he been successful and where has he failed. We're asking for your views.
Here is what has been said so far on the forums:
"I question where his loyalties lie, they certainly don't seem to lie with British agriculture. Undoubtedly he has one of the worst jobs in the cabinet and, like Becket and Milliband before him, can't wait to get freed from the millstone that is DEFRA. But when we look back at this era and think of the name Benn we in the ag industry will inevitably remember someone who pandered to the whims of the single issue groups and refused to listen to the industry. " The Cornish Man
"It seems that Labour, and therefore Benn, assume that anything relevant to agriculture will be decided at an EU level. Well in a lot of respects that's true, but it seems that when some new or updated Directive is proposed, the UK agriculture team do not have sufficient detailed knowledge to effectively argue our case with the EU bureaucrats. DEFRA are pretty good at consultation when it comes to putting directives into UK law and under Benn seem to have been better at not gold-plating the legislation. BUT at this stage it is too late and we end up with ever more inappropriate and irrelevant regulation which is detrimental to UK agriculture. (By the way, this is not just a failing of DEFRA, but also applies to many other government departments too.). So, my verdict? Shows signs of promise but too easily influenced by inappropriate friends. Could do better." Jacobus
See what others have written about Hilary Benn and add your own comments on this discussion thread.