Agriculture minister Nick Brown has come out fighting for his own department, joining the chorus of support for MAFF in the face of persistent rumours the ministry will be broken up and replaced by a new Department of Rural Affairs. Talking exclusively to The Grocer on the eve of this Thursday's farm crisis summit in Downing Street, he said: "It's important MAFF is able to fully interact with the European Commission. Reform of the Common Agricultural Policy is an incredibly important issue, and it's vital we have a ministry with sufficient standing to punch its weight." Asked if the prime minister shared his views about the future of MAFF, the minister replied: "I believe he does. We are in the process of appointing a new permanent secretary to the existing ministry. I know rumours have been doing the rounds, but, truthfully, I know of no substance to them." {{NEWS }}