Lord Bates returns to government after walk from Buenos Aires to Rio

Posted On: 
14th October 2016

A Conservative peer has stepped back into the Government after returning from a solo walk across South America.

Lord Bates in Milan as part of a previous long-distance charity walk
PA Images

Lord Bates, who walked 2,000 miles from Buenos Aires to Rio de Janeiro, takes up an unpaid role in the Department for International Development, it was announced today.

He quit as a Home Office minister at the end of March this year to embark on the journey, raising money for Unicef as part of the UN Olympic Truce ahead of the summer’s games.  

Diary: Lord Bates' dispatch from Argentina

Tory peer quits Government to take part in charity walk

He takes over at DfID from Baroness Anelay, who continues a ministerial role at the Foreign Office.

Last year Lord Bates went on a 64-day trek in China and he also took part in a walk for the Olympic Truce in 2012, covering 4,800 miles across 15 European countries.  

His South American adventure took him through Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay and Brazil. In a piece for The House magazine during the first stages of the walk, he wrote:

“Politics can often be a frustrating because you become increasingly exposed to global problems and yet can feel powerless to do anything about it.

“I don’t have medical skills. I am not an engineer. I am not a diplomat. I am not a teacher. What can I do? The answer was to raise funds for those who can.”

He added: “I am fifty-four years old. My sons remind me I am more ‘Beer & Grills’ than Bear Grylls...

“As we get older our physical bodies may get weaker but our spiritual and mental capacities seem to strengthen to compensate.”

The Olympic Truce dates back to ancient Greece and was designed to allow athletes and warriors to travel through hostile territory to the games in safety.