|Minister of State for Agriculture, Fisheries & Food|
Assumed office |
7 October 2013
|Sec. of State||
|Preceded by||Richard Benyon|
|Member of Parliament |
for Camborne and Redruth
Assumed office |
6 May 2010
|Preceded by||Constituency created|
28 September 1971|
Penzance, Cornwall, England
Charles George Eustice MP (born 28 September 1971), known as George Eustice, is a British Conservative Party politician and former public relations executive, who was first elected at the 2010 general election as the Member of Parliament for Camborne and Redruth.
In October 2013, as part of Prime Minister David Cameron's Cabinet reshuffle, Eustice was appointed Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Farming, Food and the Marine Environment. On 11 May 2015 he was promoted to Minister of State for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food.
Early life and career
Eustice was born on the 28 September 1971 in Penzance. His parents were Adele (née Olds) and Paul Eustice. He grew up at Trevaskis Fruit Farm, near Hayle. He was privately educated at Truro Cathedral School then Truro School, followed by Cornwall College at Pool. He was a member of Cornwall Athletic Club based at Carn Brea, Camborne and ran for Cornwall's Cross-Country Team. After finishing his education, he worked in his family business for nine years.
Early political career
In 2000, Eustice was appointed as Campaign Director for "No" the campaign group to ensure that the UK did not adopt the Euro as the national currency.
Eustice became Head of Press under Conservative Party leader Michael Howard during the 2005 general election. Following the election, he was part of David Cameron's Leadership campaign team and between 2005–08, served as David Cameron's Press Secretary during his tenure as Leader of the Opposition. On leaving Cameron's office, George Eustice worked for Portland Communications, a public relations company.
Eustice was elected as Member of Parliament for Camborne & Redruth on Thursday 6 May 2010 with a majority of 66 votes over the Liberal Democrat incumbent Julia Goldsworthy. He made his maiden speech in the House of Commons on 24 June 2010 when he paid tribute to his predecessor and his constituency: “It is a special honour for me to represent my home town. I was brought up between Camborne and Hayle, in Cornwall, and my family have lived and worked in the area for more than 400 years. When one has such deep roots in a constituency, one feels a special responsibility for its long-term future.” He also said that as the MP for some of the most deprived households in Europe: “My No. 1 priority for the area will be economic regeneration.”
Eustice was asked to take a leading role in the successful 2011 “No to AV Referendum” campaign, reportedly as a result of his work for Business for Sterling and the "No" Group, which campaigned to keep the pound and against the adoption of the Euro as currency in the UK.
In September 2011, Eustice, with two other Conservative MPs Andrea Leadsom and Chris Heaton-Harris launched the Fresh Start Group; a pressure group to examine the options for a new UK-EU relationship. He wrote an article in The Guardian on Sunday 10 June 2012, which argued for the UK to remain within the EU, but to seek reform from within. On 10 July 2012 the Fresh Start Group released a research paper, which according to the Financial Times, called for "reducing the overall size of the EU budget, overhauling the Common Agricultural Policy to which the UK contributes about £1bn a year and repatriating structural funds."
On 17 May 2012, Eustice was elected to the influential 1922 Committee of Backbench Conservative MPs as part of the "301 Group" of newer MPs.
Eustice has supported statuary underpinning of independent press regulation which arose from the Leveson proposals on 21 June 2012, George Eustice made a submission to the Leveson Inquiry and wrote an article in the Guardian urging both journalists and politicians to back a Royal Charter. Reacting to the letter, influential Conservative writer Tim Montgomerie argued that greater press regulation was now more likely.
In April 2013, Downing Street announced George Eustice's appointment to the Prime Minister's "Number 10 Policy Board", to advise David Cameron on Energy and Environment issues. Eustice was appointed to work on Conservative rather than Coalition policies, alongside other influential backbenchers such as Jo Johnson, Jesse Norman, and former Cabinet Minister, Peter Lilley.
On 7 October 2013 Eustice was appointed Parliamentary Under Secretary of State in the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with responsibility for farming and food, marine and fisheries, and animal health. On 11 May 2015 he was promoted to Minister of State for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food.
Eustice served as a Member of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee from Monday 12 July 2010 until November 2013 and the Privacy and Injunctions (Joint Committee) between July 2011 and March 2012.
In August 2010, Eustice welcomed the Government’s decision to invest £5 million into the regeneration of Hayle Harbour after two months of discussions. According to the West Briton newspaper, Eustice had lobbied ministers over the issue and further argued local social enterprises and community trusts should be actively involved in regeneration plans.
Eustice pledged in his election campaign to work to reduce the burden of water charges on Cornish homes. At a meeting of the Environmental, Farming and Rural Affairs Select Committee in October 2010 he raised the issue of higher water rates paid by South West England consumers and challenged Regina Finn, Chief Executive of Ofwat to implement the recommendations of the Walker Review which could lead to a decrease in water rates for South West consumers. In June 2013, Eustice welcomed the third annual taxpayer-funded subsidy of £50 for all South West Water customers which the Chancellor, George Osborne, announced in the Comprehensive Spending Review on 26 June. In November 2013, he welcomed South West Water’s price freeze until 2015.
In March 2013, Eustice called for the Cornwall Centre, the new facility to house the county’s store of historic manuscripts and Cornish materials, to be based in Redruth. Eustice based his call for the local to be Redruth because of the strong mining tradition in the town, which led to widespread migration across the world. The decision to base the facility in Redruth was announced in September 2013, which Eustice welcomed.
Before his election, Eustice campaigned for government funding to build a £27m east–west link road at Tuckingmill, linking Camborne, Pool and Redruth. The road would run from Wilson Way to Dolcoath Road. Cornwall Council also supported the bid, claiming the new road would provide access to "proposed development areas" and remove traffic from the A3047 and the East Hill junction, reduce congestion, noise and improve air quality, "whilst allowing regeneration projects in the area to proceed over the coming years, supporting economic growth". The project received Department for Transport approval on 26 November 2012 and on Thursday 16 May 2013, Patrick McLoughlin the Secretary of State for Transport cut the first turf to formally mark the start of work on the £27m road. The road, which received substantial funding from the European Regional Development Fund, was completed in November 2015.
Eustice led Conservative Party opposition to the Conservative Government’s plans to impose VAT on hot food, which was also known as the “pasty tax" which eventually led to what opponents claimed was a “u-turn” in Government policy. He welcomed the reverse in policy.”
In June 2016, Eustice put pressure on the Veterans Minister to speed up the time taken for a veteran's confirmation of service to be released to service charities, arguing that former members of the Armed Forces in need of help could not wait up to ten weeks for assistance. Currently the time taken is between 24 and 72 hours.
He was criticised by the Daily Telegraph in November 2012 for signing a letter calling for tougher regulation of the press on the grounds that he had previously been the subject of negative media coverage. The paper reported that he had previously been nicknamed “Useless” by sections of the press and had a difficult relationship with the media because of its treatment of David Cameron when they were working closely together. Eustice responded that the existing system was flawed and that "it would be better by far to have credible and independent regulation much earlier in the process.”
In January 2016, Eustice was one of 72 MPs who voted down an amendment in Parliament on rental homes being “fit for human habitation” who were themselves landlords who derived an income from a property.
In May 2016, it emerged that Eustice was one of a number of Conservative MPs being investigated by police in the United Kingdom general election, 2015 party spending investigation, for allegedly spending more than the legal limit on constituency election campaign expenses. However, in May 2017, the Crown Prosecution Service said that while there was evidence of inaccurate spending returns, it did not "meet the test" for further action.
In August 2016, Eustice was one of two Conservative environment ministers who were accused by environmental campaigners of having a conflict of interest over earning substantial EU farming subsidies on their family businesses whilst being heavily involved in developing the plans for the replacement system to the EU farming support.
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- George Eustice MP official constituency website
- George's Online Diary
- Profile at Parliament of the United Kingdom
- Contributions in Parliament at Hansard 2010–present
- Voting record at Public Whip
- Record in Parliament at TheyWorkForYou
- Profile at Westminster Parliamentary Record
|Parliament of the United Kingdom|
|New constituency|| Member of Parliament for Camborne and Redruth