Hilary Benn has kept his job as DEFRA secretary.

Speculation had been rife that the minister would be replaced by Ed Miliband, brother of former DEFRA secretary David Miliband.

But Mr Benn’s post was left unchanged during a cabinet shuffle by Prime Minister Gordon Brown on (3 October).

Rumours that Ed Miliband would have a role in environment were not completely wide of the mark. Some of Hilary Benn’s remit has been hived off to create a new department for energy and climate change which Mr Miliband will head up.

And, while the political world is still gasping at the return of Peter Mandelson to frontline politics, there were also eyebrows raised in the farming industry at the return to the limelight of two former agriculture ministers.

Margaret Beckett who was DEFRA secretary until May 2006 has been given the role of housing minister.

And Nick Brown who was ousted as agriculture minister during the foot-and-mouth crisis in 2001 will take up the post of government chief whip.