South West Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss has been appointed as Justice Secretary and Lord Chancellor by the new prime minister, Theresa May.
The announcement was made this morning after Ms Truss met Mrs May in Downing Street.
Following the meeting, Ms Truss tweeted: “Delighted to be appointed Secretary of State for Justice and Lord Chancellor. Looking forward to getting stuck in.”
She then posted: “Sad to be leaving Defra after two fantastic years. Great team and loved working with farmers, food producers and environmental groups.”
Her appointment has been welcomed by leading prison reform groups, who have urged her to continue the reforms started by her predecessor, Michael Gove.
Francis Crook, chief executive of the Howard League for Penal Reform, said: “There are huge challenges faced by the incoming Justice Secretary but this is a time to speak of the opportunities: an opportunity to refashion our justice system so that it is better focused on those who commit more serious crimes, offers reparation to victims and communities and helps turn lives around.
“It is to be hoped that Elizabeth Truss is the person to take these opportunities on and we welcome today’s appointment.
“It will be up to her as his successor to continue on the direction of travel set by Mr Gove
As Lord Chancellor, Ms Truss, who succeeds Michael Gove in the justice brief, will have a prominent role in the State Opening of Parliament, carrying the speech that the Queen delivers during the ceremony.
She had previously supported Mrs May in the leadership election following the withdrawal of the early frontrunner, Boris Johnson.
Mrs May was formally appointed as prime minister on Wednesday afternoon, following the withdrawal of Andrea Leadsom from the leadership contest earlier this week.
North West Norfolk MP Sir Henry Bellingham said: “Although some of my members will be sad not to have the chance of voting for the new leader and prime minister, I feel certain that the majority will be relieved and reassured that, at a time of quite extraordinary challenges, we have a new and very experienced prime minister in place.
“Theresa May has immense ability, and already commands a great deal of respect in Europe so she will be able to hit the ground running.”