Owen Paterson replaces Caroline Spelman as Defra minister

Former Northern Ireland secretary Owen Paterson was today named as food and farming minister in the Prime Minister's cabinet reshuffle.

Owen Paterson - image: Owen Paterson
Owen Paterson - image: Owen Paterson

Paterson was the Conservatives' shadow agriculture, fisheries and food minister from 2003-05.

Caroline Spelman, whom he replaces, held the Defra brief since the Coalition's formation in May 2010, but will no longer have a role in cabinet.

NFU president Peter Kendall said: "I look forward to meeting Mr Paterson at the earliest opportunity to discuss the ways in which the farming industry and government can work together in future.

"He has a real appreciation of the importance of agriculture, both as a result of the strong farming presence in his North Shropshire constituency and through his previous experience as shadow Defra spokesman."

Kendall also paid tribute to the outgoing Caroline Spelman, saying: "She has worked incredibly hard to foster strong and meaningful relationships with our partners in Europe, a vital element in our efforts to ensure forthcoming reforms to the Common Agricultural Policy do not discriminate against the interests of British farmers."

Country Land & Business Association (CLA) president Harry Cotterell said: "The CLA would like to see Owen Paterson vigorously implement the good policy work started under his predecessor, and present a bold vision for our industry in Defra’s forthcoming Rural Statement."


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