Ministerial role

Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs


The Secretary of State has overall responsibility for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Specific responsibilities include:

  • departmental administration
  • emergencies
  • international relations
  • oversight of Brexit work and post-EU policy programme

Current role holder: The Rt Hon Theresa Villiers

Theresa Villiers was appointed Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on 24 July 2019.

Theresa Villiers served as Secretary of State for Northern Ireland from September 2012 until July 2016. Previously she served as Minister of State for Transport from May 2010 until September 2012. Theresa was elected the Conservative MP for Chipping Barnet in 2005.


Theresa went to Francis Holland School in London then studied law at the University of Bristol and Jesus College, Oxford.

Political career

Highlights include:

  • MP for Chipping Barnet 2005 to present
  • MEP for London 1999 to 2005
  • Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury 2005 to 2007
  • Shadow Secretary of State for Transport 2007 to 2010
  • Minister of State for Transport 2010 to 2012
  • Secretary of State for Northern Ireland 2012 to 2016

Career outside politics

After university, Theresa worked as a barrister and as a lecturer in law at Kings College, London.

Personal life

Theresa was born in 1968 and grew up in St John’s Wood, north London. She lives in Arkley in Barnet.

Previous holders of this role

  1. The Rt Hon Michael Gove MP

    • 2017 to 2019
  2. The Rt Hon Andrea Leadsom MP

    • 2016 to 2017
  3. The Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss MP

    • 2014 to 2016
  4. The Rt Hon Owen Paterson

    • 2012 to 2014
  5. The Rt Hon Caroline Spelman

    • 2010 to 2012


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  1. Public to have their say on the food system of the future

    • Press release
  2. Activation of Bellwin Scheme and cash boost for Whaley Bridge

    • Press release
  3. Environment Secretary Theresa Villiers visits Whaley Bridge

    • Press release
  4. Environment Secretary's speech at Countryfile Live 2019

    • Speech
  5. Plastic bag sales down 90% since introduction of 5p charge

    • Press release
  6. Government sets out vision for a safe and biodiverse railway lineside

    • News story
  7. Stronger protections for the environment move closer as landmark Bill takes shape

    • News story
  8. UK Government delivers for Wales at Royal Welsh Show

    • Press release
  9. New Defra Chief Scientist appointed

    • News story
  10. Three new general licences announced

    • Press release