David Cameron has appointed George Eustice, his former press secretary and former Ukip candidate, as his new adviser on Energy and Climate Change issues, it was announced today.
Mr Eustice, a backbench MP, will join the Prime Minister's Conservative Parliamentary Advisory Board - taking up the role later this month.
Last week, rumours that climate sceptic Peter Lilley had been given the role prompted outrage from environmental campaigners. Downing Street quickly denied the suggestion, announcing he would be working for Foreign Affairs.
Mr Eustice, who was unsuccessful as a south-west candidate for Ukip in 1999, became Head of Press for the Conservative Party under Michael Howard and later Press Secretary for Cameron during his leadership campaign in 2005.
The move is likely to be greeted with mixed reaction from campaign groups and green businesses. A long-time opponent of onshore wind and solar farms, he recently wrote in a blog that "the sudden proliferation of random, single [wind] turbines is starting to blight the Cornish countryside." However he is known to be a keen proponent of marine energy and recently backed Friends of the Earth's Bee Cause campaign, which urged the government to help stem the rapid decline of bee populations in the UK.
However, one source in the environmental sector questioned the former Portland Communication director's background and previous expertise in the environmental area.
It is unclear how influential the advisory board - whose members include Jo Johnson and Jesse Norman - will be on government policy. Though some sources said the move will help modernise the Tories position on climate change at a time when pressure is being exerted from the right of the party to ditch the green agenda.
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