The Conservative MEP claimed Theresa Villiers showed incredible tenacity in her support of Brexit in a piece for the Telegraph. The Environment Secretary, Ms Villiers is one of only three members to have voted constantly against the previous Prime Minister’s withdrawal terms. Mr Hannan tells of how in 2010, her first act as Minister of State in the Transport Department was to have the EU’s 12-star flag removed from departmental buildings. He said: “I found out about her decree by the merest chance via a civil servant.
“How many politicians, I remember wondering, would issue such an order and not put out a press release about it?”
She was not immediately admitted to David Cameron’s Cabinet in 2010 after she fiercely criticised his turning back on his promise of a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty.
Mr Hannan praised Ms Villiers’ modesty in her endeavours to make her voice heard while putting her career on the line.
He said: “When, for example, the then-Prime Minister made it obvious that he was going to campaign for a Remain vote, she quietly told him that she could not support him and was prepared to resign over the matter.”
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He then praised Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s decision to make her Environment Secretary.
He added: “The fact that Boris has put her in charge of the areas of policy most likely to be affected by Brexit – agriculture and food standards – is revealing and encouraging.”
Ms Villiers first entered Parliament in 2005 as MP for Chipping Barnet.
Within seven months, she was promoted by David Cameron to the post of Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury.
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The move to introduce her into Mr Johnson’s fresh cabinet is one that Mr Hannan says speaks volumes of things to come.
He concluded: “It is sometimes said that Eurosceptics are bombastic, uninterested in detail, better at talking than getting down to action.
“To be fair, these things are true of some of them. But others have made a serious study of how the EU works, and know exactly how to get things done there.
“Our new Prime Minister, who went to school in Brussels and returned there as a Telegraph journalist, is in that category.”