Mr Raab has replaced David Davis as Brexit Secretary just 12 hours after he resigned in protest.
Less than 12 hours after Mr Davis walked out, Housing Minister Dominic Raab has been promoted to Brexit Secretary.
In a statement, Downing Street said: “The Queen has been pleased to approve the appointment of Dominic Raab MPas Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union.
“This follows the departure from Government of the Rt Hon David Davis MP.”
FARMERS: If Gove were to leave Defra for DExEU, how would you feel? Please RT— Abi Kay (@FGAbiKay)
FARMERS: If Gove were to leave Defra for DExEU, how would you feel? Please RT— Abi Kay (@FGAbiKay) July 9, 2018
The National Sheep Association (NSA) welcomed the decision with calls for Mr Gove to ‘work closely’ with Mr Raab to ‘highlight the importance of agriculture and the focus that must be put on it in Brexit negotiations to protect British farming’.
Chief executive Phil Stocker said: “It would appear Mr Gove is currently supporting a view that we, and many others, have said is best for the UK sheep industry – free and frictionless trade with the EU even if it means accepting a closer relationship than some would like.
“Friday’s Cabinet agreements will not please everyone but, with just eight months to go before we leave, pragmatism is setting in and I hope the new Brexit Secretary will support this position too.
“Farming and the environment need stability at this stage, and they will be key industry and public interest areas as we go through future changes that will need special consideration rather than fit into the standard mould.”
Mr Davis resigned along with another junior minister at the Department for Exiting the EU last night because he felt the Prime Minister’s latest Brexit plan was not consistent with Tory manifesto promises to leave the single market and customs union.
By contrast, Mr Gove has given his full backing to the proposals and was sent out on the Sunday morning TV round to defend them.
The plan would give the UK and EU a ‘common rule book’ on agri-food products, making Britain a rule taker in this area.
Leaving the Common Agricultural Policy is still the Government’s ambition, but European food standards would be maintained – a move which would be likely to prevent any UK-US trade deal which covered food.
Though farming groups may welcome this development, a number of Conservative MPs are known to be unhappy with it, seeing a potential agreement with the US as a key Brexit win.
CLA president Tim Breitmeyer has given a warm reception to the plan, describing it as a ‘breakthrough’.
He said: “Farmers and other rural businesses rely heavily on frictionless trade and movement of goods across EU borders and I welcome the agreement that has been reached which delivers on many of the arguments made not just by the CLA, but by a wide range of business leaders.
“A future relationship which imposes barriers to trade or excludes agri-food would not just put at risk farming businesses but have a devastating impact across the wider rural economy.
“The Government’s vision still has to be negotiated and agreed with the EU and we must not be complacent that any deal is done but it provides a strong starting point and much needed certainty to farmers and rural businesses on what the future may hold.
“I will be encouraging my farming colleagues across Europe, for who this is a significant step forward as well, to urge their governments to agree to the Prime Minister’s proposal.”
Food and farming alliance Sustain’s chief executive Kath Dalmeny added: “Our alliance members were against a hard Brexit, so they will welcome the commitment in tonight’s statement from government to high standards in food and agriculture.”
A Government white paper detailing the plans is expected to be released shortly, but it is not guaranteed that the EU will accept them.