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Getting the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) portfolio represents promotion for Owen Paterson.

 

There is a suspicion that removing him from the NIO and replacing him with a Cabinet newcomer, who, though able, has no track record, may mark a downgrading of Northern Ireland. Theresa Villiers is even being portrayed as a token woman.

 

That is what people will say, but low expectations could be an opportunity for Theresa Villiers to prove them wrong.

 

Corporation tax will be an early challenge and, if the easy option of letting it slip is taken, then years of effort by Mr Paterson, publicly encouraged by David Cameron, will be wasted.

 

By Liam Clarke 

 

Read more: Belfast Telegraph (6 September 2012)


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