Michael Gove was a leading Brexit champion, but as a Cabinet minister in charge of agriculture, he wants foreign farm workers to stay.
That might seem a strange stance given his role in the 2016 referendum, where immigration was a leading cause for the leave campaign he helped lead. But now he’s in a tough spot as rural affairs secretary because migrant works from the EU are already fleeing and putting the industry at risk.
On Tuesday he set out plans to provide special immigration rules for those British farms that rely on migrant workers to ensure they remain profitable as the U.K. quits the EU. His department will launch a consultation in the coming weeks on post-Brexit farming subsidies that will include a transition period for funding and labor, Gove told the National Farmers’ Union in Birmingham.
Gove has staged something of a political comeback since he bungled his leadership bid back in 2016 and fell out with his ally and friend Boris Johnson, who went on to become foreign secretary. It was Prime Minister Theresa May who brought him back into the fold in a reshuffle after the election and put him at helm of an industry that is among the most vulnerable to Brexit.
Read more about these critical British prospects on Bloomberg.