top of page

Former environment secretary George Eustice to step down at next election

The former fruit farmer said he wants the chance to have another career outside politics. He joins a growing number of senior Tories announcing they will quit politics at the next election.

Former environment secretary George Eustice is the latest Conservative to announce he will be standing down as an MP at the next election.

Mr Eustice said it was a "difficult decision" but after 15 years as the MP for Camborne and Redruth he wants to take the opportunity to have another career outside politics.

The senior Tory was secretary of state for environment, food and rural affairs under Boris Johnson, from February 2020 until September 2022.

A recent finding by UK Polling Report predicted Mr Eustice is set to lose his seat to Labour with a 17.3% drop in votes.

He becomes the latest Conservative to announce he will not be standing at the next election, due in January 2025, as he joins senior Tories including Sajid Javid, Dehenna Davison, William Wragg and Douglas Ross.

The average age of the 15 Tories who have decided to step down is 51, with most having become MPs in 2010, while the average age of the 12 Labour MPs who have said they will not stand again is 70.

Announcing his decision, Mr Eustice said: "By the time of the next election, I will have been in politics for 25 years, including almost 15 years as a member of parliament.

"I will also be 53 and I want the opportunity to do a final career outside politics so have decided not to seek re-election. This has been a difficult decision for me.

"I feel a deep bond to the area where my family have lived for over 400 years and it has been an honour to represent my home towns, but it is important that the Conservatives are able to select a new candidate in good time.

"There are still almost two years left of the current parliament and I will be doing my utmost throughout that time to help my constituents and deliver for Cornwall."

Mr Eustice's family has a fruit farm in Cornwall, which he worked for before becoming an MP in 2010 when the Camborne and Redruth constituency was established.

He won with just a 66-vote majority - the smallest of any Tory in 2010 - before winning a further three elections to gain an 8,700 majority at the last one in 2019.

The MP made his name when he successfully led his party's opposition to the Cameron-Osborne government's plans in 2014 to impose VAT on hot food, known as the pasty tax.

A Brexit supporter, he resigned as minister for agriculture, fisheries and food in 2019 in protest over then-prime minister Theresa May's promise to allow MPs a vote on delaying Brexit if her deal failed to get through.

When Mr Johnson appointed him as environment secretary in 2020 he called it his "dream job".

His time in the cabinet was not without controversy after he refused in an interview with Sky News just after he was appointed, to guarantee the UK would ban chlorinated chicken as part of a UK-US trade deal.

He was also criticised for his alleged closeness to the farming industry and for enabling badger culling to cut the spread of bovine TB after expanding licences for it. Mr Johnson then signalled the end of badger culling, but it still continues.

In January 2021, he broke the government's pledge to keep a ban on the use of neonicotinoid pesticides, which have been linked to a decline in bees.


bottom of page