THE environment secretary, Michael Gove, has made his first public appearance in his new role at a popular county event.

The former education secretary addressed farmers' concerns about Brexit at the opening day of the Royal Three Counties Show.

West Worcestershire MP Harriett Baldwin joined Mr Gove at the Three Counties Showground, in Malvern, on Friday.

An estimated 90,000 visitors will attend the weekend show, which has been billed as the country's biggest equine and livestock event.

Mr Gove responded to criticism about his performance as education secretary by insisting that he is not chasing popularity.

He said: "I just want to do the right thing and for me the most important thing in this job is not to chase after popularity.

"But to listen, to follow the evidence, to do the right thing and to be capable of defending your decisions.

"To make sure that our rural economy can be made stronger and also above all that our environment can be enhanced."

Mr Gove acknowledged farmers' concerns about losing Common Agricultural Policy subsidies and reiterated the Tory manifesto pledge to continue current levels of agricultural support up to 2022.

"The first thing we need to do is listen to those at the sharp end and learn from them how we can improve the current allocations and delivery of support," he said.

Mr Gove said that the Government would consult with all sectors after being asked about farmers' access to migrant labour from Eastern Europe.

He added: "I'm determined to make sure that the rural economy continues to have the flexibility and access to the people it needs to stay economically ahead of the game.

"I think it's important that we don't at this stage preempt things David Davis will achieve over the course of negotiations.

"It would be wrong for me at this stage to intrude myself into that important conversation but more will be revealed during the course of those talks."

The MP said Malvern was a beautiful part of the country and praised Mrs Baldwin as an 'outstanding minister and a fantastic constituency MP'.

The Bishop of Worcester was also at the show and shared a message of hope for farmers who are nervous about their future.

Rt Rev Dr John Inge said: "We shall always need food, there might be anxieties but farmers will always have a job."

He added that as a former president of the show he has seen how it can bridge the gap between rural and urban life.