homeSunday 27th September 2020

New ministers impacting environment health announced

Stuart Spear15/06/2017 - 12:38

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Question mark over Mr Gove's environmental credentials
Question mark over Mr Gove's environmental credentials

Reeling from her poor election results, Theresa May has placed Michael Gove at the heart of future environmental health policy by appointing him minister for environment food and rural affairs.    

Mrs May’s decision to bring the former education secretary out of the political wilderness gives him oversight of the government’s future air quality strategy at a time when DEFRA faces its third legal challenge from the campaign group ClientEarth.

His appointment, announced on Monday, quickly prompted some blunt assessments of his environmental credentials. 

Co-leader of the Green’s Caroline Lucas said: ‘It is hard to think of many politicians as ill equipped for the role of environment secretary as Michael Gove. His record of voting against measures to halt climate change and his attempt to wipe the subject from our children’s curriculum show him entirely unfit to lead our country in tackling one of the greatest threats we face.

‘And as we enter Brexit negotiations, Gove’s past suggestion we scrap vital EU environmental protections becomes ever more concerning.’

Mr Gove replaces Andrea Leadsom who becomes leader of the House of Commons.

Former housing minister Gavin Barwell has been appointed Theresa May’s chief of staff after being ousted from his seat in Croydon Central. Alok Sharma MP for Reading West will take over the housing and planning portfolio at the Department for Communities and Local Government.

He was previously minister for Asia and the Pacific at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. The 49-year old became an MP in 2010 and is a qualified chartered accountant.  He has previously served on the Treasury select committee.

Public health minister Nicola Blackwood lost her seat in Oxford West and Abingdon and so will be replaced by either Steve Brine or Jackie Doyle-Price. Both are DoH junior ministers but as EHN went to press it was unclear which will get the public health portfolio.

Also at DoH Lord O’Shaughnessy retains responsibility for the Food Standards Agency.

In other ministries impacting environmental health the status quo prevails. It means that Sajid Javid remains secretary of state of communities and local government with Marcus Jones remains minister for local government.

Andrew Percy retains responsibility for resilience and emergencies at the DCLG.

Greg Clark keeps energy and industrial strategy, Chris Grayling remains at transport and Priti Patel at international development.

Jesse Norman, MP for Hereford and South Herefordshire, as minister for industry and energy has joint responsibility for energy efficiency and fuel poverty at the Department for Business, Energy & industrial Strategy.

He shares the energy efficiency portfolio with a new appointee, Claire Perry, minister of state for climate change and industry. She moves from the Department of Transport and replaces Nick Hurd MP who has moved to the Home Office with responsibility for fire and police. Mr Hurd is the son of former foreign secretary Douglas Hurd.

Therese Coffey and George Eustice remain at DEFRA as environment and farming ministers respectively.   

David Davies remains as secretary of state for exiting the European Union. Two of the four ministers at the Brexit ministry have been replaced just days before negotiations with the EU in a sign of mounting tension between Downing Street and the ministry leadership. 









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