A former Conservative local councillor, Jayawardena worked for Lloyds Banking Group and has wide ranging commercial experience from the pharmaceutical, construction, transport and leisure sectors.
Following his election to Parliament in 2015, Jayawardena sat on several parliamentary select committees before he received his first prominent position as Deputy Chairman of the Conservative Party in 2020. He was then promoted to Minister for International Trade (2020-22). An early backer of Liz Truss' campaign to be Leader of the Conservative Party, he was appointed to his current role in September 2022.
View on portfolio
Ranil should bring some knowledge to the role of Environment Secretary as his constituency of North East Hampshire is large and rural. He also has experience of the most contentious debates over agriculture and free trade given his previous role as Trade Minister. It is thought he is much more pro-free trade than his predecessor George Eustice. However, his appointment has already caused interest amongst some activists as his voting record suggests he favours a light touch approach to regulation. Despite this, he has previously said he recognizes the importance of the UK taking climate action and will be bound by the UK's legal commitment to get to Net Zero by 2050.