Rory Stewart OBE, the Conservative MP for Penrith and The Border, has today (May 12) been confirmed as the replacement for Dan Rogerson within the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra)
Rory Stewart OBE, the Conservative MP for Penrith and The Border, has today (May 12) been confirmed as the replacement for Dan Rogerson within the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).
The news follows Prime Minister David Cameron’s appointment of his cabinet yesterday after winning a majority in the General Election last week (May 7), with Liz Truss and Patrick McLoughlin both continuing in their respective roles as Environment Secretary and Transport Secretary (see AirQualityNews.com story).
Liberal Democrat Mr Rogerson had held the air quality brief within Defra since 2013, but lost his seat in North Cornwall as his party suffered a disastrous day at the polls.
As a result, Eton-educated Mr Stewart will now serve under Mrs Truss at Defra alongside minister of state George Eustice, who has also been reappointed to the Department after serving within it prior to the election.
It has not yet been confirmed whether Mr Stewart will take on responsibility for air quality, as a spokeswomen for Defra stated that the minister’s final portfolios have not been fully decided.
However, whoever is given the brief will likely oversee the production of a new UK air quality plan before the end-of-year deadline set by the Supreme Court last month to meet EU nitrogen dioxide limits (see AirQualityNews.com story).
Originally elected to parliament in 2010, Mr Stewart returned the largest ever majority at his Penrith and The Border constituency in 2015, nearly doubling his majority from 11,241 to 19,894.
The 42-year-old MP served as the chair of the Defence Select Committee during the last Parliament, and his appointment to Defra may come as something of a surprise to those in the field, who had widely expected that he would pick up a post within the Ministry of Defence.
His parliamentary career has also seen him join the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, chair the All Party Parliamentary group on Local Democracy, chair the All Party Parliamentary Group on Mountain Rescue, and serve as treasurer of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Upland Farming.
According to his personal website he tours his Northern Lakeland constituency on foot whenever possible, and has focused on issues including broadband and mobile technology; on defence and military intervention internationally; on rural and upland farming policy; and on devolving power to local communities across Britain.
Mr Stewart, who was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 2004 for his military service in Iraq, is also an award-winning author of three books – largely detailing his time in Afghanistan and Iraq.