The responsibility for introducing a hunting bill in the new Parliament has switched from the Home Office to the newly-created DEFRA (Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs).

Former permanent secretary to the Cabinet Office Brian Bender has been given charge of the issue, along with animal welfare, rural development and countryside.

Other key figures confirmed to work under Secretary of State Margaret Beckett at DEFRA include Minister of State for the Environment Michael Meacher and Minister of State for Rural Affairs Alun Michael. Elliot Morley and Lord Whitty complete the line-up as Parliamentary secretaries.