Press release -

Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs: Information Bulletin: Defra ministerial portfolios announced

103/10 The portfolios for the new Defra Ministerial team have been agreed as follows:

Secretary of State (Caroline Spelman MP):

  • Overall responsibility for departmental policy; particular interest in CAP reform, biodiversity and climate change
  • Strategy, budget and finances
  • Legislative programme
  • Emergencies
  • EU and international relations.
  • Environment Agency
  • Natural England

Minister of State for Agriculture and Food (Jim Paice MP)

  • Farming
  • Food
  • Animal health (including endemic and exotic diseases)
  • Responsibility and cost-sharing
  • Welfare of farm animals
  • Single Payments Scheme
  • RDPE
  • Forestry (including Forestry Commission)
  • Agriculture and forestry carbon budgets
  • Hunting and shooting
  • Agricultural Wages
  • Gangmasters Licensing
  • Seasonal Agricultural Workers Scheme (SAWS)
  • Better regulation
  • Deputising for the Secretary of State at EU Agriculture Council

Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Natural Environment and Fisheries (Richard Benyon MP)

  • Natural environment
  • Ecosystem services
  • Biodiversity
  • National parks and areas of outstanding natural beauty
  • Wildlife
  • JNCC
  • Flooding and water (including Nitrates)
  • Inland waterways (including British Waterways)
  • Land management (including commons and contaminated land) and soil
  • Rural Affairs
  • Coastal erosion
  • Marine and Coastal Access Act implementation
  • Marine Management Organisation
  • Coastal and wider access, countryside and rights of way
  • Marine Environment
  • Fisheries, including CFP
  • EU Fisheries Council
  • Departmental administration
  • Apprenticeships

Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Lord Henley)

  • Environmental regulation
  • Air quality
  • Local environmental quality, including noise
  • Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution
  • GMOs
  • Nanotechnology
  • Chemicals and pesticides (inc CBRN)
  • Local and regional government
  • Localism and third sector
  • Climate change – adaptation
  • Climate change – Defra’s interest in mitigation and overall carbon budgets lead
  • Sustainable development
  • Sustainable Consumption and Production
  • Biofuels
  • Welfare of companion and wild animals
  • Dangerous Dogs
  • Bee health
  • Plant health
  • Kew Gardens
  • Science, evidence and research
  • Waste and recycling
  • Global monitoring of environmental security (GMES)
  • All departmental business in the Lords
  • Deputising for the Secretary of State at EU Environment Council

Notes to Editors

1.    Caroline Spelman has been the Member of Parliament for Meriden since 1997. In Opposition, she served in the Shadow Cabinet, covering the Environment, International Development and Communities and Local Government portfolios, as well as holding other senior posts.

Before entering Parliament, Caroline had an extensive career in the agriculture sector, with fifteen years in the agriculture industry and in-depth experience of the international arena, including as deputy director of the International Confederation of European Beet Growers and a research fellow for the Centre for European Agricultural Studies. She has also authored a book on the non-food use of agricultural products.

Caroline is fluent in French and German and holds a BA First Class in European Studies from Queen Mary College. She is married with three children.

2.    Jim Paice has been the MP for South East Cambridgeshire since 1987, and before joining Defra was twice the Opposition spokesperson for Agriculture and Rural Affairs. He has also been spokesperson for Home Affairs.

Mr Paice held ministerial posts at the Department of Education and Employment and the Department of Employment from 1994 to 1997. He also served as Parliamentary Private Secretary to two Ministers.

Mr Paice has a lifelong involvement with farming. He was a key figure in the Young Farmers movement, and represented the UK on the European Council of Young Farmers for four years. He was a member of the Suffolk Coastal District Council between 1976 and 1987 becoming the Chairman in 1983.

Mr Paice is married with two sons.

3.    Richard Benyon has been MP for Newbury since May 2005. Before coming to government Mr Benyon served as a Shadow Minister for the Environment, Fisheries and Wildlife. Prior to this appointment he was a Party Whip.  He has also served on the Home Affairs Select Committee.

Mr Benyon lives in West Berkshire where he is a farmer. He is a former soldier and is a founder Trustee of the charity Help for Heroes. Mr Benyon is married to Zoe, with whom he has two sons. He also has three sons from his previous marriage.

4.    Lord Henley entered the House of Lords in 1977 and has held a number of front bench positions both in Government under Margaret Thatcher and John Major and in Opposition. His political career has included posts as House of Lords Whip and Ministerial positions at the Department of Social Security, Department for Employment, Ministry of Defence and Department for Education and Employment. Since 1997 he has served as Opposition Chief Whip in the House of Lords and later as a Shadow Justice Minister.

Lord Henley was educated at Clifton College, graduated from Durham University and was called to the Bar in 1977.


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