Defra will not appoint a new minister to take over the work of Lord de Mauley, Number 10 has confirmed.
Lord Gardiner of Kimble has been appointed to take over the role of speaking for Defra in the House of Lords but the department’s remaining three ministers will share de Mauley’s other former responsibilities as under-secretary of state for natural environment and science secretary of state.
A spokesperson for Number 10 told MRW that Lord Gardiner will have no ministerial role but rejected the suggestion this was a sign the department was cutting back.
Defra was said to have gained seniority, marked by George Eustice’s promotion to minister of state, which will enable the department’s current ministers to absorb de Mauley’s other responsibilities.
Lord Gardiner has previously served as a whip and spokesman for the cabinet office, business department and Decc.
He is now the Conservative deputy chief whip in the House of Lords and deputy chief executive of the Countryside Alliance, having previously worked as director of political affairs for the organisation.
De Mauley’s position was unclear until he was removed from the ministerial board on Defra’s website on 19 May.
Ministerial duties at Defra are expected to be announced later, including who will be resource minister following the departure of Dan Rogerson at the general election.
A Defra spokesperson said: “Lord Gardiner of Kimble has been appointed as the Lords spokesperson for Defra - portfolios are currently being finalised and will be announced in due course.”