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George Eustice and Dan Rogerson in, Jeremy Browne out

By GDemianyk  |  Posted: October 07, 2013

  • George Eustice

  • Taunton Deane MP Jeremy Browne

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Two MPs from Cornwall have been appointed as ministers in the Government department in charge of the countryside – with one likely to oversee the controversial badger cull.

George Eustice, Conservative MP for Camborne and Redruth, and Dan Rogerson, the Liberal Democrat MP for North Cornwall, were today named as junior ministers at the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) in the reshuffle.

They come in to replace Farming Minister David Heath, Lib Dem MP for Somerton and Frome, who has been sacked after a year despite the ongoing badger cull – one of the most controversial Government policies. Richard Benyon is the other Defra minister to make way.

It remains unclear whether Mr Eustice or Mr Rogerson will be charged with the badger cull as part of plans to halt the spread of bovine TB spreading in the South West.

Both have been named parliamentary under secretaries of state – a more junior position than that held by Mr Heath, who was a minister of state.

Downing Street said tonight roles and responsibilities will be finalised by Environment Secretary Owen Paterson in the coming days.

While two “pilot” badger culls have been taking place in Somerset and Gloucestershire, Mr Paterson has indicated Cornwall could be next if the policy is expanded.

Mr Eustice is the son of West Cornwall fruit farmers.

A former member of Praze Young Farmers near Camborne, the 42-year-old replaces Richard Benyon. Mr Eustice, a former Press secretary to David Cameron, is a former director of Trevaskis Farm at Gwinear, near Hayle.

Mr Rogerson, in common with Mr Eustice, served on the rural affairs select committee before the announcement.

Meanwhile, Taunton Deane MP Jeremy Browne has been sacked from his job as a Home Office minister.

The Liberal Democrat MP was among the most high-profile casualties as Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg wielded the knife.

In a letter explaining why he had removed the MP from his job as Home Office minister, the Deputy Prime Minister said he was keen to "provide the opportunity for as many in our ranks as possible to contribute their skills to Ministerial office".

The decision to kick him out of government, particularly from such a high profile role, was one of the surprise moves of the reshuffle.

Mr Browne, who supported the DPM in his Lib Dem leadership bid, appeared to take easily to Coalition government and regularly toured the television studios to sell the Government's message.

Mr Clegg wrote: "It is always very difficult to move colleagues out of government but as you know, I have always been keen that we provide the opportunity for as many in our ranks as possible to contribute their skills to Ministerial office during this Parliament so that, just as the Government has benefited from your contribution over the past three years, it can also gain from those of other colleagues in the remaining years of this parliament.

"I am immensely grateful to you for your commitment and support over the past few years. You have made a major contribution to this historic coalition government and as one of the very few ministers who have served in two departments, I have no doubt there will be an opportunity for your experience to be deployed in government in the future."

Mr Browne, who also served as a minister in the Foreign Office, said he remained supportive of the Government but cautioned against "lapsing into transactional trade-offs and deferred decision making".

He added: "I supported your election as party leader and I admired your decision to take our party into government.

"Easy and permanent opposition may be alluring to some but you are right not to find it seductive."

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  • IvorWard  |  October 08 2013, 10:59PM

    Mr Rogerson has finally received his reward for keeping his mouth shut about the destruction of North Cornwall by the wind subsidy junkies. I hope this does not result in any damage to the fence he has been sitting on since 2010. Mr "I won't stand up for my constituents on planning matters " Rogerson may now have to supervise the culling of badgers in Cornwall. Happily, in line with Mr Clegg's stated policy, he will not have any principles to stand in his way. Being told to support left or right depending where the power is by Mr Clegg must make his life so much easier.

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