Elizabeth Truss

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UK environment secretary Elizabeth Truss
Elizabeth Truss is the UK Conservative Party MP for South West Norfolk and has been a government minister since 2012.

She was appointed as Secretary of State for Justice by incoming Prime Minister Theresa May on 14 July 2016. [1]

Previously, in David Cameron's July 2014 re-shuffle, Truss was appointed secretary of state at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.[2]

Prior to that, she was parliamentary under-secretary in the Department for Education from 2012.[3]

Background

Truss previously worked as deputy director at Reform, a think tank whose declared mission is 'to set out a better way to deliver public services and economic prosperity'. [4]

She became an MP in 2010 and was re-elected in the 2015 general election with a majority of 13,861. [5]

Pushing fracking

Two months after being appointed environment secretary in July 2014, Truss appeared before the Commons Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee. There she repeated the Coalition government's mantra that 'provided [fracking] is carried out in a responsible manner people can have confidence in it'. There was a need, she said to 'demystify' it.

We need to do a good job in explaining to the public. There can be misinformation out there. It is our job to explain. People need to understand the evidence behind policy', she said.

Drinks with fracking lobbyists

FrackWell.png This article is part of the Spinwatch Fracking Portal and project

In June 2015 Truss attended lobbyists Westbourne Communications' summer party at the ICA in London. [6] Westbourne counts among its clients the controversial fracking firm Cuadrilla Resources, which a few weeks later suffered a blow to its shale exploration plans when Lancashire County Council rejected its applications at two sites in the region.

A freedom of information request revealed the cosy access enjoyed by Westbourne to Truss's own special adviser (Spad). As Spinwatch reported:

Emails released recently by Defra under freedom of information rules reveal that in May 2014 a Westbourne staffer wrote to Guy Robinson, who was at the time a special adviser to former environment secretary Owen Paterson (now Liz Truss), to request a meeting on ‘shale gas and farming’. The lobbyist, whose name is redacted but mentions North West Energy Task Force (NWETF) is a client, was ‘working on a research paper exploring the potential benefits of shale gas developments to farmers’. He/she wanted ‘to discuss some of the findings’ over ‘some lunch or a brief coffee’ ahead of a launch event.
Within hours Robinson had replied, asking the lobbyist to set up a meeting with his diary office. Unfortunately we have no way of knowing whether they met – the emails don’t give any dates in the secretariat’s reply, or indicate if they arranged it by phone. Nor is it listed on Defra's most recent disclosed spads’ meetings dated 30 June 2014.
Guy Robinson, as it turns out, is an ex-lobbyist himself – he once worked for Crosby Textor, the UK-Australian lobbying outfit co-owned by David Cameron’s infamous election spin doctor Lynton Crosby. [7]

Staff

Special advisers

Former

Gifts

In September 2013, Truss was gifted a box at Norwich City Football Club for her and her husband, valued at about £2,000.[10]

Resources

FrackWell.png This article is part of the Spinwatch Fracking Portal and project
See: Fracking lobbying firms

See: Fracking Spads

Notes

  1. 'Whos in who's out? May's new cabinet', 14 July 2016, BBC News, accessed 15 July 2016
  2. Ministerial appointments: July 2014, Prime Minister's Office, 15 July 2014.
  3. Elizabeth Truss, www.parliament.uk, accessed 25 August 2013.
  4. Overview Reform, accessed 23 April 2015
  5. Elizabeth Truss Express, accessed 19 May 2015
  6. James Bethell, Westbourne’s Summer Party demonstrates how the terms have changed, Westbourne website, 4 June 2015
  7. Melissa Jones and Andy Rowell, Access all areas: Westminster's (vast) fracking lobby exposed, 29 April 2015.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Register of interests of members' secretaries and research assistants, 23 March 2016, parliament.uk, accessed 25 April 2016
  9. MWW The UK Government, November 2014, accessed 4 May 2015.
  10. Annabelle Dickson Second jobs and party donations from energy firms, IT and property companies - what has your MP declared in the latest MP’s register of interests? Eastern Daily Press, 29 October 2014, accessed 20 February 2015