Zac Goldsmith reappointed as Defra minister

Defra minister Zac Goldsmith has been reappointed to his role – despite losing his seat as an MP in this month’s general election.

Since the election, Mr Goldsmith has been made a life peer and will continue in his role as minister of state at Defra and at the Department for International Development.

A Downing Street statement said Mr Goldsmith had been confirmed as an unpaid minister of state at both departments.

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It added: “The Queen has been pleased to signify her intention of conferring a peerage of the United Kingdom for Life on Zac Goldsmith.”

Mr Goldsmith lost his Richmond Park seat to Sarah Olney of the Liberal Democrats, who won it by 34,550 votes to his 26,793 in the election on 12 December.

The Electoral Reform Society, which wants to replace the first-past-the-post voting system with one of proportional representation, has criticised his reappointment.

Elevating Mr Goldsmith to the Lords by handing him a peerage would send the message that the upper chamber is an “absurd insurance policy” for MPs who lose their seats, it said.

Electoral Reform Society chief executive Darren Hughes said: “The bloated House of Lords is already packed full of defeated and former MPs – more than 200 of them.

“Politicians shouldn’t be rewarded with votes on our laws for life, after losing their seat.”

Mr Goldsmith’s responsibilities at Defra have included all animal welfare, live exports and religious slaughter, food chain policy and forestry.

He was first appointed minister of state at the department on 10 September 2019.

He had previously served as a parliamentary under secretary of state at Defra.

Prime minister Boris Johnson is expected to announce a bigger reshuffle in the New Year.

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