Zac Goldsmith sacked by Truss as Defra environment minister

Zac Goldsmith has been sacked as environment minister by prime minister Liz Truss as part of her cabinet reshuffle.

Lord Goldsmith was a close ally of former prime minister Boris Johnson and his wife Carrie.

Mr Johnson made Mr Goldsmith a life peer shortly after he lost his Richmond Park seat to the Lib Dems in December 2019.

See also: Ranil Jayawardena announced as new Defra secretary

The Guardian reported that Lord Goldsmith has been stripped of the animal welfare brief and will no longer attend cabinet.

However, he is expected to keep his role at the Foreign Office, where he is minister of state for the Pacific and international environment. 

Writing on his Twitter account, Lord Goldsmith’s brother, Ben Goldsmith, said: “During his time at Defra, my brother Zac Goldsmith has helped to bring about some tremendous leaps forward on animal welfare and nature restoration policy and thankfully he’s still international environment minister at the Foreign Office.”

The Guardian reported that Lord Goldsmith, a long-time environmentalist and outspoken critic of the government’s badger culling policy, told Defra in his farewell letter he was “very sad” to leave.

He wrote: “We have so much more to do to turn the tide here.

“The UK is, after all, one of the world’s most nature-depleted countries. But if Defra continues to get the backing you need and deserve across government, you can and you will turn the tide.”

Lord Goldsmith previously spoke out on Twitter about the green credentials of Mark Spencer, the former government chief whip who was made Defra minister of state by PM Truss last week, replacing Victoria Prentis, who was moved to the Department for Work and Pensions.

Following Mr Johnson’s resignation as prime minister in July, Lord Goldsmith tweeted his disapproval that leadership contender Rishi Sunak had “evidently agreed” to make Mr Spencer, a farmer and MP for Sherwood in the East Midlands, the next Defra secretary of state.

“Mark was the biggest blocker of measures to protect nature, biodiversity, animal welfare. He will be our very own little Bolsonaro. Grim news for nature. But great news for political opponents,” he wrote.

Other Defra appointments

In her reshuffle of the Defra ministerial team, PM Truss sacked Cornish MP George Eustice and replaced him with North East Hampshire MP Ranil Jayawardena.

Copeland MP Trudy Harrison, who hails from a farming background, has been appointed parliamentary under secretary of state at Defra.

It is understood that Lord Benyon has kept his role as a fellow under secretary of state for Defra.

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