Energy department unscathed by reshuffle – but new faces at Defra

The Department of Energy and Climate Change escaped unscathed from Downing Street’s reshuffle yesterday. With the ever-changing line-up of ministers at DECC a common complaint in the energy sector, there […]

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By Vicky Ellis

The Department of Energy and Climate Change escaped unscathed from Downing Street’s reshuffle yesterday.

With the ever-changing line-up of ministers at DECC a common complaint in the energy sector, there will be sighs of relief to see the same team installed.

Energy Secretary Ed Davey’s position was fairly secure as a Lib Dem in the Coalition. He replaced disgraced Chris Huhne in early 2012, while Business Minister Michael Fallon picked up the energy brief from John Hayes in late 2012. Hayes had only recently taken the post from industry favourite Charles Hendry.

In the latest reshuffle there are some new faces at the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra), with Richard Benyon departing from the post of Fisheries and Environment Minister.

Just days ago he was tweeting about São Paolo on an official visit: “Trade mission going well. Bigging up UK sewage and waste companies yesterday and selling chicken hearts and bulls’ semen today. The glamour!”

Labour’s former Shadow Environment Secretary Mary Creagh – in Labour’s own reshuffle she is now responsible for transport – chimed in with commiserations.

She wrote on the social media site: “Sorry to see @RichardBenyonMP leave Govt Defra team. Hope it’s not a move by Owen Paterson to water down department’s environment enthusiasm”.

Taking up a post as Parliamentary Under Secretary at Defra is MP George Eustice who as a member of the Environment Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee made clear the subject area is “close to my heart” on his blog in 2010.

Fellow committee member and Tory loose cannon Zac Goldsmith MP described him as an “inspired appointment”.

Lib Dem MP for North Cornwall Dan Rogerson was also appointed as Parliamentary Under Secretary at Defra.