|Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries & Food|
7 October 2013
|Prime Minister||David Cameron
|Sec. of State||Owen Paterson
|Preceded by||Richard Benyon|
|Member of Parliament
for Camborne and Redruth
6 May 2010
|Preceded by||Constituency created|
28 September 1971 |
Penzance, Cornwall, England
Charles George Eustice (born 28 September 1971), known as George Eustice, is a British Conservative Party politician, who was first elected at the 2010 general election as the Member of Parliament for Camborne and Redruth, winning by just 66 votes. He was re-elected in 2015, achieving 18,452 votes, an increase on his 2010 total of 2.6%.
Born to Adele (née Olds) and Paul Eustice in Penzance, Eustice and grew up at Trevaskis Fruit Farm, near Hayle in his constituency. Before entering politics, he worked in the family business for nine years. He married his girlfriend of five years, Katy Taylor-Richards on 20 May 2013 in the Chapel of St. Mary Undercroft at the Palace of Westminster.
He was 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.
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. Whilst the campaign was accused of links to Conservative Party, it aimed to be cross-party and Labour MPs, such as Kate Hoey, also joined the campaign.
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.
On 6 September 2008, Eustice was selected as the official Conservative Party candidate for the Camborne & Redruth Constituency by the Camborne & Redruth Conservative Association.
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.”
George Eustice served as a Member of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee from Monday 12 July 2010.
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 (301 is the number of MPs needed by any party to win an overall majority at the next election) who are broadly supportive of the Prime Minister and expressed the view that the Committee required modernisation. According to the BBC, this “caused friction in the run-up to the ballot by fielding a "slate" of candidates in an attempt replace the "old guard". Besides Eustice, new MPs elected from this group included: Guto Bebb, Graham Evans, George Hollingbery, Simon Kirby, Penny Mordaunt, fellow Cornish MP Sheryll Murray and Priti Patel.
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.
Eustice was asked, along with Conservative Peer, Lord Leach of Fairford, to take a leading role in the 2011 “No to AV Referendum” 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 the referendum held on 5 May 2011, 32.1% voted to change the British electoral system to the Alternative Vote, while 67.9% voted against.
Fresh Start Group
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. He wrote: “We are the only large country in Europe that is not preoccupied by the euro, so it falls to us to take a lead. We should argue for a new model for Europe where there is an inner core – the single market in goods and services that all member states sign up to because they benefit from it. Then there should be a broader sphere of policy areas – such as employment and social policy, the euro, the common agricultural policy, justice and home affairs – that are far more optional. This would allow the EU to adapt and to give up powers where the rationale for taking decisions at the EU level had ended.”
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."
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.
On 8 November 2012 he also led a group of 44 Conservative MPs and Lords in a letter to the Guardian, which argued: “To protect both robust journalism and the public, it is now essential to establish a single standard for assessing the public interest test which can be applied independently and consistently. The prime minister was right to set up the Leveson Inquiry. While it has been uncomfortable for both politicians and the press, it also represents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to put things right. Parliament must not duck the challenge."
Reacting to the letter, influential Conservative writer Tim Montgomerie commented that "Tonight's intervention changes the balance of parliamentary debate and arithmetic in a potentially dramatic way. A combination of LibDem and Labour MPs plus 42 Tories means the door is now wide open to a new era of press regulation in Britain." He added that: “I understand that George Eustice and Nadhim Zahawi were driving forces behind the letter."
Regeneration of Hayle
According to the West Briton newspaper: “George Eustice, who has lobbied ministers over the issue, says he wants local social enterprises and community trusts to play an active role in the proposals and he has called on the community to work together to get the detail right. Eustice said: "The investment is a crucial component in the plans to regenerate Hayle and to make the town an international centre of excellence in wave power technology alongside the Wave Hub project. I want to see the successful regeneration of Hayle and this is an important step forward but now we need to get the next steps right.I am a big supporter of community trusts and social enterprises and I have said from the very start that I want them to play a role in these plans. We need to stop talking about a community trust as a plan B and start working out what role they might play alongside ING as an integral part of plan A. Finally, we need to make sure that the design of any retail development on South Quay is in keeping with the excellent heritage work started at Harvey's Foundry.”
Eustice pledged in his election campaign to work to reduce the burden of water charges on Cornish homes; on October 2010 George Eustice raised the issue of higher water rates paid by South West England consumers at a meeting of the Environmental, Farming and Rural Affairs Select Committee.
At the meeting, Eustice 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. According to local newspaper, the West Briton, Consumers in the South West face water bills often as much as 200 per cent higher than the rest of the country due to the area's extensive coastline. Mr Eustice said: "It is unfair that only per cent of the population are responsible for looking after 30 per cent of the coastline. I want to see Ofwat address this issue before the publication of the Government's White Paper on water next spring."
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, George 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. He said: “Redruth was always the natural place because it is at the heart of the worldwide Cornish diaspora with around a quarter of all those living overseas with Cornish ancestry coming from our town. The new archive can also build on the great work already being done in Redruth by organisations like the Cornish Migration Project and the Cornish Studies Library.” The decision to base the facility in Redruth was announced in September 2013, which Eustice welcomed.
Tuckingmill Link Road
This section needs to be updated.(August 2016)
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 when, according to the West Briton newspaper, Eustice said: "This final go-ahead is fantastic news for the Camborne, Redruth area and will unlock the potential for thousands of jobs and new businesses to be created in the coming decade."
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 and the works are expected to be substantially completed by the end of 2014. George Eustice said: “This is a great project because it will unlock the potential of derelict mining land in the area, attract new industries and also clear the way for the proposed Tuckingmill Urban Village. It has been estimated that the road could stimulate the creation of 6,000 jobs over the next twenty years with half of them in the next decade, and these are much needed jobs in our area.”
George Eustice led opposition to the 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 said, when the government announced the reversal in policy, “This is a very good outcome which will mean that most pasties and sausage rolls won’t be taxed.”
In June 2016, George 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.
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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