Rural organisations have welcomed Theresa May as the new Prime Minister and her appointment of Andrea Leadsom as DEFRA secretary.

Theresa May rose to the position of PM after the surprise early departure of David Cameron last week and withdrawal of Andrea Leadsom, her rival for the Conservative Party leadership.

BASC’s Christopher Graffius suggested that Mrs May’s move into 10 Downing Street would be a positive one for shooters: “Mrs May has always been supportive of shooting sports and appreciates the benefits that they deliver to the countryside and the nation as a whole.”

Countryside groups congratulate Theresa May

The CLA and National Farmers’ Union (NFU) also congratulated Mrs May on her appointment, before setting out what they would like to see from her time in office.

CLA president Ross Murray said: “Ahead of Brexit negotiations getting underway, we are calling on the Prime Minister to commit to delivering the trade relationships that will allow the agricultural sector in particular to flourish, and to reducing the regulatory burdens that have frustrated rural businesses for too long.

“Alongside these new opportunities, it is crucial that we build on current momentum to achieve better broadband and mobile connectivity in rural areas, tackle the housing crisis in the countryside, and support land management that cares for the environment and alleviates flood risk,” he continued.

NFU president Meurig Raymond agreed: “Our members are ambitious to achieve even more for Britain; with a rapidly growing population, declining food self-sufficiency, and new export markets there is a huge potential for growth. To allow British farmers to achieve this and contribute more to the economy, either through domestic consumption or new export markets, it is vital that British farmers operate on a level playing field with our competitors,” he continued.

Andrea Leadsom is the new environment secretary

Former prime ministerial contender Andrea Leadsom was appointed as the new environment secretary, replacing outgoing Elizabeth Truss, who is now the justice secretary.

BASC noted that Mrs Leadsom confirmed her support for shooting to BASC members during last year’s General Election campaign and chairman Peter Glenser said the organisation hoped “to build on the excellent relationship we had with her predecessor Liz Truss.”

Countryside Alliance chief executive Tim Bonner said: “It is good that she has [already] given commitments on broadband provision, rural funding and agricultural support. It is also good to see her commitment to protection of the environment and support for people in the countryside. On the totemic issue of the Hunting Act I am also pleased that Mrs Leadsom supports hunting and country sports in general.”

Mr Murray laid out the issues he hopes she will target: “Highest on the agenda will be immediate action to reduce uncertainty in the wake of the vote for Brexit. We will be asking Andrea Leadsom to make swift commitments on five priority issues for the rural economy — ensuring direct payments up to 2020; honouring agri- environment agreements; establishing a new food, farming and environmental policy to succeed and better the Common Agricultural Policy; engaging in full and clear consultation with farmers; and honouring commitments under current EU structural fund programmes.”