Truss wields ax at Boris ally and strips him of key Cabinet role in major upset | Politics | New

Liz Truss has wielded the ax at Boris Johnson ally Zac Goldsmith after he was sacked as Environment Minister in a quick Cabinet reshuffle by the Prime Minister. Conservative Party peer Mr Goldsmith, a close friend of Boris Johnson and his wife, Carrie, has been stripped of the pet welfare dossier and will no longer attend Cabinet meetings. However, he is expected to retain his post at the Foreign Office, where he is Minister of State for the Pacific and the International Environment.

Ms Truss only formed her new cabinet last week after replacing Mr Johnson as Prime Minister and made a number of significant changes.

Downing Street initially said it had suspended the reshuffle during the period of national mourning following the death of the Queen who died aged 96 last Thursday.

In a farewell letter to Environment Department staff, Mr Goldsmith reportedly expressed his sadness at leaving his post after a three-year “whirlwind”. The Conservative Party peer listed his achievements, including in the areas of forestry, plastic pollution and the oceans.

He wrote in the letter seen by The Guardian: “We have so much more to do to turn the tide here. The UK is, after all, one of the most nature-poor countries in the world.

“But if Defra [the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs] continues to get the support you need and deserve in government, you can and you will turn the tide. »

Tory MP Henry Smith praised the outgoing minister and said: “Zac has been a fantastic advocate for animal welfare issues within government and despite all the other distractions he has been instrumental in the drafting of several bills which have been adopted the books of statutes.

“I would expect the government to deliver on all commitments and promises in its animal welfare manifesto, regardless of who holds positions in various departments.”

But the decision to sack Mr Goldsmith, who was appointed Cabinet minister by Mr Johnson in 2019, has raised concerns among many that animal welfare will be downgraded by the Prime Minister’s new government.

READ MORE: BBC backlash as Scottish indy line gets swept up in coverage of Queen’s death

She warned: “Our government has always maintained that animal welfare standards will be upheld in all trade agreements, but it is extremely important that this is honored and that our farmers are not undermined by low welfare trade agreements. -be.

“We have higher animal welfare standards here than in many countries, so they can’t compete.

“The UK is behind some countries in ending cages and crates – that’s something Zac wanted to do if he had stayed. We can still do a lot on trade deals.

“Advancing animal welfare is important to the public, and we hope the government recognizes this and continues to maintain and improve our high standards.”

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Edward L. Robinett