South West Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss has been named as the new Environment Secretary as part of David Cameron’s government reshuffle, it has been announced this morning, Tuesday, July 15.
The appointment confirmed growing speculation that Ms Truss was set for a promotion.
First elected to Parliament in 2010, Ms Truss has been an education minister since September 2012 and was linked with the post of culture secretary earlier this year before that job went to Sajid Javid.
She now replaces Owen Paterson at the head of the department that oversees farming, food and environmental issues.
The department has faced fierce criticism for its handling of the Lynn incinerator project after it was revealed that officials had first raised concerns over the timetable for the development in 2010.
In a statement issued a short time ago, Ms Truss said: “I am delighted to be appointed as Environment Secretary.
“I look forward to tackling the important issues facing our rural communities including championing British food, protecting people from flooding and improving the environment.
“I have greatly enjoyed my role at the Department for Education and would like to thank the excellent team there for all their hard work. I look forward to working with the team at Defra.”
Ms Truss is the first Cabinet minister to represent West Norfolk since Baroness Shephard of Northwold, who held the environment, education and employment briefs in John Major’s government in the 1990s.
She was among a number of women MPs expected to receive promotions as the prime minister re-shapes his ministerial team ahead of next year’s general election.