16 July 1999
Meacher tipped for rural affairs job

MICHAEL MEACHER has emerged as the hot favourite to get the ministers job in charge of the new rural affairs department when Tony Blair reshuffles his cabinet later this month.

Tony Blair is “actively considering” the creation of the new department, according to the Financial Times.

Meacher, a left-leaning radical, is tipped to head the department because of his creditable performance as a middle-ranking environment minister.

The new department will provide a focus for the governments countryside policies. It is thought likely to combine the agriculture ministry with Meachers current environment job.

Nick Brown, the current agriculture minister, is in favour of the new rural affairs ministry. He is tipped to win promotion to Northern Ireland secretary.