Eustice's rumoured replacement: 7 things you need to know about Mark Spencer

Environment secretary George Eustice is rumoured to be facing demotion, according to media reports, with chief whip Mark Spencer mooted to replace him. Here’s what you need to know.

1. Spencer is currently the prime minister's chief whip

Spencer was appointed government chief whip by Boris Johnson in 2019.  He served in the Whips' office between 2017 and 2019. He was first elected to parliament in 2010 as an MP Sherwood, Nottingham.

2. He is a farmer

Spencer describes himself as still being a ‘local farmer and businessman’. In the past, Spencer was Chairman of the National Federation of Young Farmers Clubs.  He also used to be a Trustee of The Royal Agricultural Society of England and for a number of years was the Honorary Show Director of The Royal Show.

3. He still owns shares in his family farm

His family farm business now employs around 50 local people. He also owns shareholdings in Spring Lane Farm Ltd - a farm shop of which he is an unremunerated director.

4. He’s worked on environmental issues before

Since becoming a member of Parliament Spencer has worked on several committees including the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee. 

5. He has generally voted against measures to prevent climate change

Spencer has generally voted against measures to prevent climate change - most recently he voted not to require ministers to have due regard to the target of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 when taking actions including setting up agricultural subsidy schemes.

6. Spencer has consistently voted for selling England’s state owned forests

When MPs have voted on if the Public Forest Estate in England ought to remain publicly-owned and managed by the Forestry Commission, or if it should be sold off, Spencer has consistently voted for selling it.

7. He’s received donations in kind from the British Association for Shooting and Conservation 

On the Register of Members’ Financial Interest it notes that in 2015 Spencer received a donation ‘in kind’ of one day’s shooting and one night’s accommodation at Hoar Cross Hall Hotel Staffordshire, which came to a total value £772.

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