7 July 1995

Hogg is fourth farms minister in two years

By Peter Bullen

Political correspondent

UK agriculture has a new minister – the fourth in two years.

In John Majors Cabinet reshuffle on Wednesday Douglas Hogg QC replaced William Waldegrave, who was appointed chief secretary of the Treasury.

Mr Hogg said it was a great challenge to take over the reins from Mr Waldegrave who had made such progress on important policy issues during his time at MAFF.

"There has been a lot happening recently most notably with the success in the June EU farm council when important measures to improve the welfare of animals in transport were agreed," he said.

"I look forward to the next step which is to seek the Europe-wide banning of veal crates and improvements to calf diets. I am also keen to follow up work on CAP reform," he added.

Like his predecessors Gillian Shephard and John Gummer Mr Hogg, like Mr Major himself, is one of the so-called East Anglia Mafia of Tory MPs with constituencies in that area.

The 50-year-old son of Lord Hailsham has represented Grantham since 1979, which he held with a majority of more than 19,500 at the last election.

He was a member of the Commons agriculture select committee from 1979 to 1982. Since then he has held several government posts including being a Tory whip, and until this week Minister of State at the Foreign Office.

Mr Hoggs move to MAFF brought praise from UK farming leaders for outgoing farm minister William Waldegrave, writes Liz Mason.

NFU leader Sir David Naish said: "We are grateful for the strong, firm hand that William Waldegrave has shown over live exports over the past year. "We look forward to working closely with Douglas Hogg to promote and enhance market opportunities for British farmers and growers."

Hugh Duberly, Country Landowners Association president, congratulated Mr Waldegrave for his "sterling work" in progressing reforms for the countryside. He welcomed the appointment of another farm minister with constituency roots in the countryside.

But Paul Tyler, Liberal Democrat farm and rural affairs spokesman said: "At a time when the industry desperately needs consistency and continuity, this chop and change will be very unpopular with farmers."

&#8226 Michael Forsyth is the new Scottish Secretary and William

Hague Welsh secretary. As FARMERS WEEKLY went to press junior farm minister Michael Jack was being tipped to follow William Waldegrave to the treasury.