Most farmers think Rural Payments Agency Chief Tony Cooper should be sacked over the security debacle which led to thousands of farmers’ personal details going missing.

According to a Farmers Weekly poll, about 90% of people think Mr Cooper should be held accountable for the loss of data tapes containing bank details and the names and addresses of all farmers who have ever applied for a single farm payment.

Of the 703 people who voted, a mere 14% (96 voters) thought the beleaguered chief should remain in place to try to steer the RPA out of its latest blunder.

While DEFRA secretary Hilary Benn said he was to blame for farmers’ confidential data going missing, the poll is a clear indication farmers want to see action taken against the RPA chief.

The revelation in last week’s Farmers Weekly that Mr Cooper knew about the security breach for over a month before telling DEFRA secretary Hilary Benn did nothing to boost his ratings within the industry.

Writing in the FWi forums, Henrar said Mr Cooper should be forced to set the RPA right without being paid.

Meanwhile Craman said there had been a “gross abuse of trust” of holding public office.

“How do we get those responsible for the losses of the data, and those responsible for the cover up, out of public service for life – without pay-offs and pensions,” he said.

Sjk said he could not see the RPA finding ways to make sure such a blunder was not allowed to happen again as officials were “too busy trying to find who landed them in hot water”.

“Great to see where their priorities lay,” he added.

Should someone from DEFRA or the RPA be held responsible for your details going missing? Have your say at

Who in Westminster wants Cooper to get the chop?

cooper-vote-mapUnder-fire RPA chief Tony Cooper might think he can rely on MPs in Westminster for support, but it seems someone very close to parliament thinks he should go.

A map of votes from Farmers Weekly‘s online poll suggests at least one person in the House of Commons cast their vote over Tony Cooper’s future – and they thought he should get the boot.