A COUNTY Durham MP pledged to further promote farmers' concerns as he announced his appointment to a role with Defra.

Paul Howell, who represents Sedgefield for the Conservatives, is the Government's new Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) for the department.

Writing on facebook on Tuesday, he said: "As a PPS, I will support Defra’s ministers in Westminster with their parliamentary business, bringing forth important legislation that will support Sedgefield’s rural economy and environment.

"I am looking forward to working with ministers on issues that matter and will use my voice to make sure that Sedgefield’s constituents’ concerns continue to be heard at the heart of Government.

"I already engage with many local farmers and NFU representatives, so this new role can only help me further promote their concerns directly to ministers."