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Westlake Legal Group > Posts tagged "George Eustice MP"

Our Cabinet League Table: Johnson down again, Patel up – and Williamson and Jenrick in negative territory

Westlake Legal Group Cabinet-League-Table-Jun-20-1024x955 Our Cabinet League Table: Johnson down again, Patel up – and Williamson and Jenrick in negative territory ToryDiary Suella Braverman MP Steve Barclay MP Stephen Barclay MP Simon Hart MP Robert Jenrick MP Robert Buckland MP Rishi Sunak MP Oliver Dowden MP Natalie Evans (Baroness) Michael Gove MP Matthew Hancock MP Matt Hancock MP Mark Spencer MP Liz Truss MP Jacob Rees-Mogg MP Highlights Grant Shapps MP George Eustice MP Gavin Williamson MP Elizabeth Truss MP Dr Therese Coffey Dominic Raab MP ConservativeHome Members' Panel Brandon Lewis MP Boris Johnson MP Ben Wallace MP Anne-Marie Trevelyan MP Amanda Milling MP Alok Sharma MP Alister Jack MP

  • Rishi Sunak continues to buck a general downward trend, coming in almost exactly where he was last month (92 per cent now; 91 per cent then).
  • Priti Patel is up by twelve points, and rises from mid-table to fifth.  That will largely be the effect of her vigorous counter-attack on Labour MPs over ethnicity and politics.
  • Michael Gove is up by six points, Truss by four, and Dominic Raab holds steady.  But these are fairly small-scale changes.
  • Therese Coffey is down by 15 point, Amanda Milling barely in positive territory, and Gavin Williamson and Robert Jenrick are down by some 50 and 60 points respectively.
  • In the last two cases, we are into the red.  That’s the effect of the school closure and Richard Desmond sagas.

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WATCH: Eustice reiterates at today’s press conference that Britain is “now in a position to move to level three”

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WATCH: Eustice – any lockdown changes will be done with “the utmost caution”

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Our survey. Is the Cabinet, which must wrestle with the Coronavirus, fit for purpose?

Westlake Legal Group our-survey-is-the-cabinet-which-must-wrestle-with-the-coronavirus-fit-for-purpose Our survey. Is the Cabinet, which must wrestle with the Coronavirus, fit for purpose? Victoria Atkins MP ToryDiary Tom Tugendhat MP Thérèse Coffey MP The Cabinet Steve Baker MP Sir John Redwood MP Sir Eric Pickles Sajid Javid MP Robert Buckland MP Rishi Sunak MP Priti Patel MP Piers Morgan Penny Mordaunt MP pabel Owen Paterson MP Oliver Dowden MP Matthew Hancock MP Matt Hancock MP Mark Spencer MP Kenneth Baker (Lord) Johnny Mercer MP Jeremy Hunt MP Iain Duncan Smith MP Highlights George Eustice MP Dominic Raab MP David Davis MP coronavirus ConservativeHome Members' Panel Chris Patten (Lord) Boris Johnson MP Ben Wallace MP Ben Elliot Anne-Marie Trevelyan MP Andrew Neil Amanda Milling MP Alok Sharma MP

Westlake Legal Group Screen-Shot-2020-05-04-at-16.55.42 Our survey. Is the Cabinet, which must wrestle with the Coronavirus, fit for purpose? Victoria Atkins MP ToryDiary Tom Tugendhat MP Thérèse Coffey MP The Cabinet Steve Baker MP Sir John Redwood MP Sir Eric Pickles Sajid Javid MP Robert Buckland MP Rishi Sunak MP Priti Patel MP Piers Morgan Penny Mordaunt MP pabel Owen Paterson MP Oliver Dowden MP Matthew Hancock MP Matt Hancock MP Mark Spencer MP Kenneth Baker (Lord) Johnny Mercer MP Jeremy Hunt MP Iain Duncan Smith MP Highlights George Eustice MP Dominic Raab MP David Davis MP coronavirus ConservativeHome Members' Panel Chris Patten (Lord) Boris Johnson MP Ben Wallace MP Ben Elliot Anne-Marie Trevelyan MP Andrew Neil Amanda Milling MP Alok Sharma MP  An idea is occasionally worth testing with the panel to see where it gets to.  Here’s an example.

Tim Montgomerie recently tweeted that –

  • Ministers are appointed on the basis of compliance, not talent;
  • “An A-team of Brexiteers and Remainers is needed to steer UK away from the rocks” (though not immediately). “Tick-tock, tick-tock! Act soon Boris!”
  • I’ve rarely had so much feedback from Tory MPs to a Tweet but my concern at the >>unnecessary<< weakness of the Government frontbench and of the Number Ten operation seems to be widely shared…

So what’s the take of panel members on the Cabinet?  We asked –

  • Whether they believe that it is of sufficient quality to govern adequately at the least, and is fit for purpose.
  • Which Conservative MPs who aren’t in the Cabinet they’d like to see appointed to it.

So, in order:

  • 81 per cent of respondents, some four in five, think the Cabinet is adequate at least, and basically fit for purpose – not a high bar, you may think.

Which brings us to which Tory MPs panel members would like to see promoted to the top table.

There were two potential ways of asking for names.

  • Presenting a list of our own and asking members to select from it, which would have left us open to the accusation of puffing our favorites.
  • Letting members decide for themselves, which would incur the charge of name recall – i.e: that respondents are simply citing the MPs they remember.

The second route seemed to us to be the lesser of two evils.  At any rate, here are the top ten Conservative MPs favoured in replies as first choice for a Cabinet seat.

  • Jeremy Hunt – 91 votes.
  • Steve Baker – 66.
  • John Redwood – 55.
  • Iain Duncan Smith – 49.
  • Penny Mordaunt – 37.
  • Tom Tugendhat – 30.
  • Johnny Mercer – 25.
  • Sajid Javid – 22.
  • David Davis – 16
  • Owen Paterson – 13.

If we knocked out from the bottom of our last Cabinet League Table, excluding the three territorial Ministers, these would replace:

  • Amanda Milling.
  • Anne-Marie Trevelyan.
  • Oliver Dowden.
  • Mark Spencer.
  • Therese Coffey.
  • Gavin Williamson.
  • Alok Sharma.
  • George Eustice.
  • Ben Wallace.
  • Robert Buckland.

There now follows a disparate series of points, some of which favour Tim’s thesis, and others which don’t.

  • Cards on the table.  Our own take is that Tim is right to argue that compliance was a significant factor in appointments in January’s shuffle.  To take just one example: the real Party Chairman is Ben Elliot, who is the Andrew Feldman tradition of being essentially an extension of the Party leader, rather than a Ken Baker or Chris Patten or Eric Pickles figure, who is of independent standing.
  • But if panel members think this is true, most don’t seem to be bothered.  Perhaps the Union Jack Effect explains the rallying-round represented by that four in five margin of support.  Or maybe they’re simply content – because the after-effects of that near-landslide in December haven’t worn off yet, despite the Coronavirus.
  • We’ll publish our monthly Cabinet League Table later this week, and don’t want to reveal the results now.  But without giving any great secrets away we can say that there’s little evidence of dissatisfaction, particularly with Boris Johnson, Dominic Raab, Rishi Sunak, Priti Patel, Michael Gove, Matt Hancock and Jacob Rees-Mogg.
  • And look at the number of votes cast for prospective members.  Jeremy Hunt, who came top of the poll, won 91 votes.  That’s out of 869 replies.  From a total of 1274 survey returns.  Which means 405 respondents didn’t think the question was worth answering.  We think that the Cabinet would be stronger for having Hunt in it, but 91 votes out of 1274 returns isn’t a large share.  Some of the lower ones barely scrape double figures.
  • Were the ten names put up by our panel members appointed to the top table, and the ten people we identify removed, the Cabinet would be greyer, older, more experienced, more male and arguably more right-wing.  The panel has a preference for military men – or at least men associated with the military – and a single military-style woman: Mordaunt.
  • At any rate, either our panel members are unwilling to recognise the merits of female Tory MPs, or those that they might name for promotion simply aren’t up to the job.  Which is it: an unyielding prejudice problem among some party members, or a persistent “pipeline problem” in finding suitable Conservative women? Which just won’t go away – the former or the latter?
  • Tim’s original tweet was sparked by one from Andrew Neil which itself was provoked by Piers Morgan monstering Victoria Atkins on GMTV.  But should the ability of Ministers to cope with showbusiness interviewers be the test of their capacity?  Is thinking so a bit of a Westminster Village Test?  Or is standing up to an aggressive interviewer essential?
  • Crises tend either to kill Ministers or make them stronger.  Matt Hancock began this one as a relatively inexperienced Cabinet member, whose only previous experience round the top table was at Digital, Culture, Media and Sport – a relative backwater.  By the time the Coronavirus abates he will have been through a governing experience almost as intense as any in wartime.  The same will apply to less public-facing Ministers, such as Alok Sharma.

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The Scapecock

Westlake Legal Group Screen-Shot-2020-04-26-at-08.59.50 The Scapecock ToryDiary The Army Russia Rishi Sunak MP Reshuffle NHS Michael Gove MP Media Highlights healthcare Health George Eustice MP Economy Dominic Raab MP coronavirus Charlotte Gill Boris Johnson MP Bank of England America

The Book of Leviticus describes the scapegoat ritual.  The high priest lays his hands on the head of a live goat, and confesses “over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel…and shall send him away by the hand of a fit man into the wilderness.  And the goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities unto a land not inhabited”.

Is this also a description of the fate awaiting Matt Hancock, who has set a goal of delivering 100,000 swab tests by Friday?

We will be brief about his chances of succeeding.  George Eustice announced at yesterday’s press conference that the last daily figure is 29,058 tests.  So the total must be upped by the best part of 70,000 a day if the Health Secretary is to meet his target.

It would be an understatement to describe that as a bit of a stretch.  And this site detects no confidence in Government that it will be hit.  But expect a vertiginious rise in tests over the next few days none the less.

In simple terms, Hancock is now taking the tests to the people rather than rely on the people to go to the tests.  Until last week, only certain categories of people, such as NHS staff and social care workers, were eligible, and they had to travel to regional testing centres.

The Health Secretary has widened eligibility to include other essential workers; set up mobile testing centres; organised home testing; brought in the private sector and the army. A new phone system crashed; is now steadier.

So we shall see.  Thinking about delivery takes us to policy – and the politics.  Where did that 100,000 figure come from?  Government sources insist that it was an “internal target” that was simply made external.  Why?  The question draws one back into the tangled story of the Government, testing and tracing.

As Charlotte Gill wrote on this site last week, Ministers and advisers have been through at least three iterations of policy.

First came a period of testing and tracing, lasting until roughly the end of March.  Then it was wound down: to cut a very long story short, key advisers had always seen testing as no longer effective once the virus could no longer be contained.  That was the second stage.  It caused a media clamour.

Hancock knocked it stone cold dead on April 2 by announcing the target at the Government’s daily press conference – in a deeply personalised terms after his own return from illness.  “I’m determined we’ll get there,” he declared.

Some of his colleagues believe that he thus gained a tactical win but set himself up for a strategic loss – namely, the missing of the target later this week, complete with the inevitable media and Opposition calls for him to “consider his position”.

But these criticisms must be seen in context. For it is impossible to separate the politics of the tests from the politics of the virus more widely – in particular, the lockdown.

The Health Secretary is seen as the leading champion in Cabinet of keeping it going, just as Rishi Sunak is viewed as the leading proponent of winding it down.  The truth is more subtle, which is why this site has resisted commissioning one of its series of boxing illustrations showing the two going at each other hammer and tongs.

Hancock is an economist, who cut his teeth at the Bank of England.  So he appreciates what the shutdown is doing to lives and livelihoods.  And Sunak is a politician, who knows that if the NHS collapses the Government will too.

The two men are basically representing the interests of their departments within the quad of Dominic Raab, Michael Gove plus both of them which, in Boris Johnson’s absence, has been leading the Government’s response to the virus.  The Health Secretary is advancing and defending his department’s position.

Which leads us to the broader question of Hancock’s position within the Government.  Downing Street has a long collective memory – enough, certainly, to remember that the Health Secretary stood for the leadership last year.

Former rivals of Boris Johnson with own ambitions have their cards marked within institutional Number Ten.  January’s Cabinet promotions were based on loyalty, non-leaking and, we were told, “competence”.  In practice, this has looked a lot like Ministers getting on with whatever Number Ten wants without asking too many questions.

Hancock is just a bit more fizzy, and now more senior, than most of the newcomers.  We haven’t found the hostility to him from Downing Street that some have claimed.  However, we detect a coolness about the tests target.

“He’s not always the most collegiate person to work with,” grumbled one Minister.  But another, who is champing at the bit to relax the lockdown, has a different take.  “Even those who don’t like him should admire the energy and dedication he’s thrown at fighting the virus.”

One observer within the machine argues that the mere announcement of the target put a rocket under delivery of the tests that otherwise would never have been launched.

“It’s a bit like the 1960s and America or Russia declaring that they’ll put a man on the moon in a decade,” he said.  “Saying that you’ll do so means that you have to strain every sinew to try.  So even if Matt misses his target, he’ll have delivered a mass of tests that would otherwise never have been delivered.”

The truth is that Hancock is exposed in any event – even if you believe that the third stage of Government policy, the shift to a South Korean-style track and test approach, has come late.

Each NHS worker without a protective gown; every social care worker who hasn’t been tested; all shifts in policy, whether made in Downing Street or not; each day that passes with the country still in lockdown, with the Department of Health making the case for caution; every slow Turkish PPE consignment – all are heaped on his head.

Which isn’t to say that he won’t have made mistakes including, on our calculation of the timetable, relying for too long on Public Health England and the NHS to deliver core targets and policies.

But that will be up to the inevitable inquiry to decide and, in the meantime, the Health Secretary may take comfort from polling showing growing media unpopularity – as a press feeling the pinch of falling sales hammers desperately on his door.  Not to mention relief at achieving his main goal to date: the non-collapse of the NHS.

So Boris Johnson is unlikely to lay his manly hands on Hancock’s head, confess over him all the iniquities of the Government, and despatch the ScapeCock with a kick in the backside into the wilderness of the backbenches.  The Health Secretary knows rather too much about the inside story of government and the virus for that.  One wouldn’t want to wake up and find it spashed all over the papers.  In any event, how many energetic Ministers are there?

All the same, the urge to find a scapegoat is dug deep into the irrational wellsprings of human psychology.  Someone must take the blame.  Someone must be punished.  In one sense, Hancock is unlike the goat, of course.  It didn’t volunteer.  The Health Secretary has.  He does the job he does because he stepped up to do it.  A point of which he will be grimly aware.

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WATCH: Eustice says that 29,058 tests were carried out yesterday

Westlake Legal Group watch-eustice-says-that-29058-tests-were-carried-out-yesterday WATCH: Eustice says that 29,058 tests were carried out yesterday Video George Eustice MP coronavirus

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Mo Metcalf-Fisher: The virus crisis should remind us how much we need our farmers

Mo Metcalf-Fisher is spokesman for the Countryside Alliance.

It remains a constant battle not to be overwhelmed by the tragic stories circulating in the media as a result of Covid-19. But among them are stories of hope.

The examples of communities up and down the country working together to look out for those most vulnerable are incredibly touching. We are discovering heroes among us. From our excellent NHS staff and emergency services to those small businesses going out of their way to keep an eye on those most in need – all while keeping people in jobs.

Understandably, a lot of praise has been on supermarkets for staying open and supplying the nation with food during this crisis. While many of us follow guidelines and remain at home, so many people up and down the country continue to work the tills and stock the shelves, often dealing with anxious and uncooperative customers. Commendation has been earned.

However, at the centre of food production are our excellent farmers. They, too, are going out to work, often in isolation, for long hours with the unique mission of providing enough produce to feed the nation at a time of crisis. Without them, the situation would be bleak and they cannot be ignored.

Farmers battle so many obstacles and those who work in the diverse field of agriculture seldom have an easy day. From untold stress caused by concerns over bereavement and its consequences; succession issues; financial pressure; excess paperwork & administration, as well as abuse from animal rights groups for carrying out pest control to keep their flocks safe…the list goes on.

On top of this, they must regularly deal with tackling misinformation about their work and its environmental impact, especially those in beef production. Anti-meat voices in the media continue to regularly attack farmers and deliberately fail to differentiate between the sustainable British grass-based, grazing system and those different systems used in other countries.

It’s sadly no surprise that farmers can often be left feeling hurt and underappreciated, which has a negative impact on the mental health of many in the profession.

The Coronavirus has presented further challenges for our farmers, and help is desperately needed to fix the shortage of people on hand to help bring in the harvest this year, as travel restrictions and tighter border controls around the world are having a major impact on the number of people able to travel to the UK. A number of employment schemes have been set up, and George Eustice has joined calls for those who are able to sign up to join the Land Army.

Once we have beaten Covid-19, we must ensure farmers have access to enough British workers who are able to carry out all-important seasonal work, if we are to avoid a similar scenario in the future. The UK requires approximately 60,000 – 70,000 seasonal agricultural workers every year.

In the light of Brexit, the Coronavirus has also reminded us of the importance of rolling out a seasonal agricultural workers scheme to allow farmers and rural businesses access to labour from abroad, to cover the shortfall . Farmers have always been vital to the countryside and they are its custodians. As produce continues making its way to the shops for us to purchase and consume, we should remind ourselves of the heroic efforts of farming communities for their role in making that possible.

One of several ways to recognise the value of their work would be for the Government to pursue a policy of mandatory ‘country of origin’ for food labelling. Consumers want to buy British produce and are generally taking much more notice about where the food they eat originates. Currently, sausages containing Dutch pork can be labelled ‘British’ because the meat has been processed in the UK.

It is only right that food marked as British must come from British farmers and producers so as not to mislead, a charge that the current set up is open to. This would ensure a level playing field for our farmers now we have left the EU.

Once we beat this virus and return to normality, we owe farmers a long overdue, mass thank you for their sterling efforts in fuelling the nation at this crucial time. British agriculture should be celebrated in the mainstream, like never before. In the meantime, please do what you can to buy British and reach out to any farmers you may know, to offer a note of gratitude.

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Grassroots members stand by Patel in our latest Cabinet League Table

Westlake Legal Group Cabinet-League-Table-Feb-20-1024x954 Grassroots members stand by Patel in our latest Cabinet League Table ToryDiary Thérèse Coffey MP Suella Braverman MP Steve Barclay MP Simon Hart MP Robert Jenrick MP Robert Buckland MP Rishi Sunak MP Priti Patel MP Paul Davies AM Oliver Dowden MP Natalie Evans (Baroness) Michael Gove MP Matthew Hancock MP Mark Spencer MP Jacob Rees-Mogg MP Jackson Carlaw MSP Highlights Grant Shapps MP George Eustice MP Gavin Williamson MP Elizabeth Truss MP Dominic Raab MP ConservativeHome Members' Panel Brandon Lewis MP Boris Johnson MP Ben Wallace MP Anne-Marie Trevelyan MP Amanda Milling MP Alok Sharma MP Alister Jack MP

 

It’s the second Cabinet League Table of the year, and our first look at the new Government after the reshuffle. It hasn’t been the best of months for the Government news-wise, but what impact has this had on the scores?

  • Members stand by Patel. The Prime Minister has made a point of standing by the Home Secretary, and our respondents appear to have done the same. Her score is down, in line with the overall pattern, but she retains fourth position.
  • Overall a slight downward trend. There has been a slight fall in the scores at the top of the table, but the Heathrow defeat and storm over the allegations against Priti Patel hasn’t shown up.
  • Another poor month for the territorial offices. Simon Hart and Alister Jack remain near the bottom of the table, undercut only by Amanda Milling, the new Party Chairman. Brandon Lewis is not far above them.
  • Enter Carlaw. The interregnum is over, and the Scottish Conservatives have a new leader. Jackson Carlaw is currently less popular than Paul Davies, but has not yet had much of a chance to make an impression. Most members continue to take no view on either.

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Benedict McAleenan: Britain’s coming Green Revolution will need better data

Benedict McAleenan is Policy Exchange’s Senior Adviser on Energy and Environment

In the middle of the last century, a Green Revolution saved over a billion lives. It wouldn’t be considered ‘green’ in today’s terms – unleashing as it did a horde of pesticides, herbicides, hybrid crops and other things designed to bring nature to heel. But it defied Malthusian doomsters by supercharging agriculture, and taught us again that human ingenuity is an endless source of promethean fire. Sixty years later, it serves as a lesson for fresh environmental challenges.

None of this will be news to George Eustice, the new Environment Secretary, who hails from farming stock and already has six years at DEFRA under his belt. Yet most of Eustice’s training will be scant preparation for his next task, which is nothing less than to reinvent the British people’s relationship with their land.

After the last Green Revolution, Britain signed up to the Common Agricultural Policy, a leviathan that tied our farmers in red tape, reduced relative productivity and incentivised only a narrow range of farm business models, some of which have not been conducive to a thriving natural world. Too many British farms are struggling.

Leaving the CAP is perhaps the biggest opportunity of Brexit, for both environmentalists and farmers. In 2017, Policy Exchange called for reforms to grasp this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, reforms which Michael Gove then put into play. Eustice’s first big job is to guide these through Parliament in the forms of the Agriculture and Environment Bills.

On the one hand, the Agriculture Bill creates a new subsidy system called ELMS (Environmental Land Management System), which will pay farmers not for farming outcomes, but for environmental ones. Improving soil, air and water, storing carbon, improving access to the countryside. The change is as deep and complicated as the switch to Universal Credit.

On the other hand, the Environment Bill creates a framework to assure standards now that Brussels is no longer in charge. It will mandate a new Office for Environmental Protection (OEP) with the task of overseeing the government’s delivery of its 25-Year Environment Plan.

The missing plank

There are plenty of challenges, from keeping farmers onside as business models are upended, to proving that divergence from the EU really could mean outpacing the bloc on the environment. But there is a major plank missing, without which the whole raft could sink. That plank is data.

Without a visionary approach to environmental data across DEFRA’s many priority areas, it will be impossible to understand whether money has been spent well and whether standards are improving. At the moment, we depend on sporadic, inconsistent, gap-filled, uncoordinated datasets with outdated collection, curation and application.

The government plans to pay farmers to improve soil health, but we have no consistent methodology for testing the ‘health’ of soil, nor its carbon sequestration. On air quality, the national monitoring network produces disparate, coarse maps that are nearly useless for finding hotspots; local monitoring is not consistent from council to council.

The UK has no long-term trend data on water pollution and its data sources change often. We have no way of knowing exactly how many trees are grown each year because we depend on tracking Forestry Commission grants and felling licences, rather than real-world monitoring, so we miss the true tree-felling impact of storms and blights. There is no up-to-date record of ancient woodlands, making the job of assessing HS2’s true costs even harder.

None of which even touches on our patchy biodiversity data. The best attempt at documenting this has been the State of Nature Report, in which a group of NGOs seek to catalogue species in flux, frequently noting a dearth of usable surveys.

Green Data

The good news is that Britain is perfectly placed to address the green data gap. We have world-leading expertise in the technologies that will solve this problem. We’ve seen data revolutions in other sectors, with huge public benefits. As one government adviser put it to me, “Before Citymapper, no one really thought of data and bus drivers in the same space. The same goes for farmers now.” Citymapper readily points to the open-mindedness of TfL in making this possible. There are other case studies from within government – the MoD’s Hydrographic Office has overhauled its data capacities and is a world leader again.

Not only are we well equipped for it, but there’s a huge opportunity. The Met Office is about to invest £1.2 billion in a supercomputer that it estimates will deliver £22 billion in economic benefits. Ordnance Survey, originally a military office, is another world leader in commercially valuable geospatial data. Data from earth observation and remote sensing is becoming core to financial investment decisions, especially as the climate changes and risks must be priced more carefully.

Satellite and drone fleets equipped with the right sensors could monitor a crop yield, a woodland’s growth or a peatland’s recovery. It could direct farmers (or agricultural robots) to attend to underperforming areas in ways that have been under-incentivised by the CAP. A better system of sensors could also do far more to track water and air quality. We could better monitor emerging flood risks and act earlier. Companies like Nature Metrics can even track biodiversity through genetic sampling of soil and water. It all adds up to a data-rich, productive rural economy with a better understood ecosystem.

Kickstarting the next Green Revolution

To make the revolution happen, DEFRA must become a data powerhouse. Eustice should start by creating an ‘Office for Natural Statistics’, to sit within DEFRA and co-ordinate data collection in a way never done before. He should then ask it to conduct a great census of Britain’s natural capital, as recommended by the Natural Capital Committee, to establish a baseline for the billions that taxpayers are about to invest in it.

The Office for Natural Statistics should form the bedrock of a much wider geospatial community, setting new standards and ambitions for environmental data. It should have the powers of a Legal Deposit Library, with full access to published research, Environmental Impact Assessments from the construction industry and farm surveys.

Like the Met Office and Ordnance Survey, its datasets would be valuable and should be easily available in an interoperable format for AgriTech innovators, water companies, researchers and regulators. It should mostly be free and open, but not always. Earnings from commercial fees could help to form a business case for investment in monitoring and AI, including a British version of the EU’s Copernicus Earth Observation satellite (as Policy Exchange has argued in a report quoted by the Prime Minister).

Once this data-led approach is embedded, the opportunities grow and grow. Whether it’s providing digital IDs for food products or real-time stats on tree growth and peat restoration, it all begins with data.

The last Green Revolution saved lives and the next one will too. Like most modern revolutions, data will be its lifeblood. But we haven’t monitored the right things properly for a long time, which shows in the results. Now we have the chance to change all that.

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WATCH: Eustice’s statement to Parliament on the Government’s flood strategy

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