Richard Benyon announced as DEFRA minister

Newbury MP Richard Benyon has been appointed as a DEFRA minister.

Mr Benyon, who describes himself as a “local farmer and businessman”, joins secretary of state Caroline Spelman and farming minister Jim Paice.

Another member of the DEFRA management team with agricultural experience, Mr Benyon was shadow environment, food and rural affairs minister in the last government.

His appointment means the DEFRA is being headed up by an entirely Conservative team within David Cameron’s coalition government.

Mr Benyon said he was very pleased to join the government and looked forward to meeting Mrs Spelman.

“When we were in opposition there were a lot of things we wanted to do and couldn’t achieve, but now we can move forward,” he added.

Benyon in a minute:

• Another addition to the DEFRA team with experience in agriculture, Richard Benyon grew up in Reading and went on to study at the Royal Agricultural College.

• He was elected to Newbury District Council in 1991 after spending five years in the armed forces, becoming Conservative group leader in 1994 only to lose his council seat a year later.

• He became MP for Newbury in the 2005 general election on his third at contesting the seat with a majority of 3460.

• After a stint on the Home Affairs Select Committee and as Opposition Whip, he became shadow farm minister in 2009.

• Aside from rural affairs he lists his other political interests as defence, welfare of servicemen, Africa, Northern Ireland and health issues.

• He lives at his family’s ancestral home, Englefield House, with his wife Zoe and five sons.