‘It is news to me’ – Norfolk MP George Freeman quashes rumours over farm minister vacancy
PUBLISHED: 17:10 04 March 2019 | UPDATED: 17:10 04 March 2019
Mid Norfolk MP George Freeman has scotched speculation linking him with the vacant farming minister’s job.
It follows last week’s resignation of agriculture minister George Eustice, who said he was quitting the government in response to Theresa May’s decision to allow a vote on delaying Brexit, which he claimed could bring about “the final humiliation of our country”.
As speculation circulated over his possible successor, Mr Freeman, a former life sciences minister who co-ordinated the UK’s agritech industrial strategy, said the rumours linking him to the job at Defra were untrue.
“I’ve heard a number of people saying the same – but I’m afraid it is news to me,” he said.
Mr Freeman was one of the headline speakers at last month’s Norfolk Farming Conference, where he said innovation and technology could pave the way for a prosperous future for the agricultural industry – but only if the government gets Brexit right.
The MP, who voted to remain in the EU, launched a scathing attack on how his party’s leadership was conducting the withdrawal process, which he called a “disgrace”.
READ MORE: Farming’s tech revolution can only succeed if we get Brexit right, says MP
“None of this can happen unless we get Brexit right,” he told the conference. “In the last two years I have not had one call from a minister, not one call from a department to ask if I would like to help.”