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Ex-MP quits Government for solo trek.

Byline: Elaine Blackburne news@gazettemedia.co.uk

A FORMER Teesside MP has quit his Government job in order to undertake a fundraising walk across South America.

Former Langbaurgh MP Lord Michael Bates has been a minister of state at the Home Office since the May 2015 general election, serving in a more junior role in the department during the coalition government.

His solo walk will raise funds for children's charity Unicef, as well as raising awareness of the UN Olympic Truce.

Following his departure at the end of March, Lord Keen of Elie will act as a Lords spokesman for the Home Office in addition to his other responsibilities as Advocate General for Scotland, said Downing Street in a statement. Prime Minister David Cameron paid tribute to Lord Bates' "outstanding contribution" in his ministerial role, adding: "I am immensely grateful for his efforts in steering important pieces of legislation through the Lords, including the Modern Slavery Bill, the Psychoactive Substances Bill and, most recently, the Immigration Bill.

"He has been very effective in representing the Home Office in the Lords.

"I wish him well in the commendable undertaking for which he vacates his post, a solo walk across South America in support of the UN Olympic Truce, and to raise funds for Unicef, a cause close to his heart."

Home Secretary Theresa May added: "Lord Bates has been a highly valued member of the ministerial team at the Home Office, and played a key role in steering hugely important legislation through the House of Lords.

"I would like to thank him for his contribution to the Home Office, and wish him the very best on his fundraising walk across South America."

This is not the first time the former MP has taken on a mammoth challenge - in 2011 he embarked on a walk from Greece to London to promote peace.

It took him 10 months to complete the 3,000 mile journey from Olympia to the Olympic Park in London.

CAPTION(S):

| Lord Michael Bates after an earlier trek when he walked 3,000 miles from Greece to promote peace during the Olympics. Left - during his long walk

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Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Geographic Code:30SOU
Date:Mar 24, 2016
Words:358
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