A Mail on Sunday columnist wrote that Symonds, an animal rights campaigner, thinks that Eustice is too close to the farming lobby, is not taking sufficient action on animal welfare and that she is keen for Eustice to go.
The column prompted environment minister and peer Zac Goldsmith, a friend of Symonds’, to take to Twitter, describing the allegations as sexist. “Completely fabricate a bunch of stories about someone and then use those to pour hate and bile on them,” he tweeted.
From a farming background himself, Eustice has been environment secretary since 13 February 2020. He appears to be more active on agriculture and trade following the UK’s departure from the EU, with minister Rebecca Pow taking up the slack on water, pollution and waste issues and Goldsmith looking after the international environmental brief as part of his extended remit.
Last year, it was reported that an intervention to veto a badger cull had been brought about by pressure from Symonds, a patron of the Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation who has ties to the Badger Trust, an organisation opposed to the cull.
DEFRA and Downing Street declined to comment, saying the matter is a political one.