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All change at Defra

Both Caroline Spelman and Jim Paice have been replaced in this week’s reshuffle.

Caroline Spelman has been replaced by Owen Paterson, MP for North Shropshire. Mr Paterson joined Defra after serving in the Cabinet as Secretary of State for Northern Ireland from May 2010. He has been MP for North Shropshire since 1997 and in opposition held several positions including Shadow Agricultural Whip, Shadow Minister for Agriculture, Shadow Minister for Transport and Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. As Shadow Minister for Agriculture, he examined the problem of bovine TB in cattle and produced a Green Paper on fisheries management. Born in Whitchurch, Shropshire, he read History at Cambridge University and speaks French and German. Before entering politics he joined his family’s leather business, where he became Managing Director in 1994. Outside of politics he is interested in horses, racing and eventing, architecture, trees and history.

Jim Paice has been replaced by David Heath. Mr Heath David Heath has been the MP for Somerton and Frome, a rural constituency and important dairy farming area, since 1997. Before this he served as Leader of Somerset County Council and also acted as Parliamentary consultant for the World Wide Fund for Nature. In Parliament, David Heath has held a number of front-bench positions, including acting as spokesperson for agriculture, fisheries and food and as a spokesperson for work and pensions. He has also served on the Science and Technology Select Committee. Until his appointment as Minister, he served as Deputy Leader of the House. He studied at Oxford University where he gained an MA in Physiological Sciences. He subsequently took further studies in Ophthalmic Optics at City University.


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