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Beckett and Morley stay at Defra

Officials at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) will be shocked to find that they have lost a senior minister following the reshuffle after the General Election.

Both Margaret Beckett and Elliot Morley retain their jobs as Secretary of State and Minister of State respectively.

But in what appears to be a slimmed down department, there is no replacement for controversial minister Alun Michael who has moved to the newly formed Department for Productivity, Energy and Industry.

Commentators will be surprised that Defra has had its number of senior ministers reduced in what will be an extremely busy period for the department. Recycling targets are approaching rapidly, and with Prime Minister Tony Blair promising climate change as one of the focuses of both the UK's presidency of the G8 and the European Union, Margaret Beckett is likely to find her time taken up involved in these discussions. The Secretary of State will also find her scheduled filled by world-wide reforms in the sugar trade.

However, Defra has gained a new junior minister in Jim Knight who joins previous Parliamentary Secretary Ben Bradshaw in the department.
Lord Bach of Lutterworth replaces Lord Whitty of Camberwell as Parliamentary Secretary in the House of Lords.

Details of what responsibility each minister holds are still to be finalised by Margaret Beckett.

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