Rory Stewart replaces Rogerson at Defra

New Defra team 2015
The new ministerial team at Defra. (top row, L-R) Liz Truss MP, Secretary of State; George Eustice MP (bottom row, L-R) Minister of State; Rory Stewart MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Lord de Mauley, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State

In one of David Cameron’s more surprising appointments, the Conservative MP for Penrith and The Border, Rory Stewart (pictured, bottom left), has replaced Dan Rogerson as Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra).

The announcement of Stewart's appointment was made by Prime Minister David Cameron on Twitter this morning (12 May), as he completes his ministerial reshuffle following last week's general election.

Stewart was previously Chair of the Defence Select Committee and has also been a member of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Local Democracy, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Mountain Rescue, and Treasurer of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Upland Farming. 

He has served in both the army and the diplomatic service, including at the British Embassy in Indonesia, and as British representative to Montenegro. with his writing focusing predominantly on personal experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan and on foreign affairs, and has presented three BBC television programmes (In Search of Lawrence of Arabia; Afghanistan: The Great Game; and Border Country: The Story of Britain’s Lost Middleland).

Due to his military background, it was expected that Stewart would be appointed to the Ministry of Defence, however this has not been the case. Defra has not issued a statement regarding his appointment.

It is not yet known whether Stewart will take over responsibility for resource management, as ministerial portfolios have not yet been assigned. It is expected that further details of responsibilities will be released within the next few weeks.

David Cameron also announced on Twitter that George Eustice has been promoted from Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Farming, Food and Marine Environment to Minister of State.

Eustice also previously served on the Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (EFRA) Select Committee, although the new committee has not yet been selected.

Stewart and Eustice have now joined Lord de Mauley and Liz Truss at Defra, who have retained their respective positions as Parliamentary Under Secretary of State and Secretary of State for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs.

UPDATE: Defra told Resource on 19 May that Lord de Mauley has not been reappointed as a Defra minister. Read more here.

Commenting on her re-appointment yesterday (11 May) Truss said: "It is a privilege to serve in this government and I am delighted to be returning as Environment Secretary.

"Growing the rural economy, delivering for our food and farming sector, helping our rural communities continue to thrive and ensuring the protection of our natural environment will be my priorities and I look forward to getting to work as soon as possible."

The other three Defra ministers have not yet issued statements regarding their positions.

Find out more about the new Conservative cabinet appointments.

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