Cabinet reshuffle: Andrea Leadsom replaces Greg Clark as Business Secretary, Claire Perry becomes COP26 President
Former Environment Secretary Andrea Leadsom last night (24 July) replaced Greg Clark as Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), while Energy Minister Claire Perry has relinquished her role and has been named President of the UK's COP26 climate talks.
In what is officially the biggest clear out of Cabinet without a change of party in power, both the BEIS Secretary and the Energy Minister have left as part of Prime Minister Boris Johnson's new-look Government, which also includes a significant reshuffle at Defra.
Additional two new junior ministers have been announced at BEIS with Kwasi Kwarteng becoming minister of state for energy and Boris Johnson's brother Jo Johnson also being appointed as an under-secretary. The latter's appointment is particularly interesting as because despite being the Prime Minister's brother, Jo Johnson has been a vocal pro-Remain MP who previously resigned from Theresa May's cabinet over a second referendum.
Greg Clark OUT
Tunbridge Wells MP Clark steps down after serving as BEIS Secretary for three years, having joined the Department when it was first created following the abolishment of the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) in July 2016.
"I warmly congratulate Johnson on becoming Prime Minister. He is right to appoint a new team for a new premiership and I wish him and them well for the vital work ahead," Clark said.
"I am grateful for the support of outstanding civil servants, special advisors and ministerial colleagues during that time. I look forward to participating fully in the work of Parliament and continuing to serve the people of Tunbridge Wells."
With Clark at the helm, BEIS moved quickly to lay the foundations of the UK’s low-carbon agenda following the abolishment of DECC. The approval of the fifth carbon budget, which sets a 57% emissions reduction target between 2028 and 2032, and the recent ratification of the Paris Agreement both serve as examples of how Clark and BEIS are pushing the low-carbon agenda.
He is a former Communities Secretary and served as Shadow Energy Secretary for the Conservative Party from 2008 to 2010.
Clark was the lead figure behind the launch of the UK's Industrial Strategy, which outlined how the nation could seize an opportunity for an upgrade” across British industry, to ensure the nation’s businesses, infrastructure and cities are “fit for the future”.
Andrea Leadsom IN
Replacing Clark to lead BEIS is Andrea Leadsom – a former Energy Minister who also served as Environment Secretary in the first year of Theresa May's Government between 2016 and 2017.
In 2016, South Northamptonshire MP Leadsom said there was some uncertainty about transposing environmental laws post-Brexit for around a third of legislation.
Claire Perry OUT (to become COP26 President)
Energy Minister Claire Perry has also relinquished her position, which she has held since January 2018, with Prime Minister Johnson allowing her to do so in order to focus on a new role of COP26 President.
"Delighted to accept new PM’s offer to become COP26 President, working closely with him but in order to do the job properly I suggested that I relinquish the broader Clean Growth and Energy portfolio and he has agreed," Perry posted on Twitter.
The COP 26 presidency is an extremely important position. While it is hoped that COP25, taking place in Chile, will finally set out roadmaps to deliver on the Paris Agreement rulebook, which was created at COP24 in Poland late last year.
COP26, however, will take place in 2020 - viewed by many as the deadline for the Paris Agreement to be fully implemented and adopted across the globe. The recent scientific, corporate and youth-led movements to prioritise the 1.5C ambition of the global accord could also mean that the next two COPs are used as a platform to raise global amitions 'beyond' 2C.
The UK will host the COP conference and Italy will host the pre-COP event, which includes a “significant youth event” to recognise the role of youth climate strikes in raising climate ambitions across Europe.
Perry claimed it was a great "privilege" to work on BEIS's work to deliver key frameworks for sustainability and energy. With Perry at the helm, BEIS has managed to launch the Clean Growth Strategy, sign the UK up to the Powering Past Coal Alliance launch a world-leading offshore wind sector deal and seal a bid for the UK to host the COP26 climate conference in 2020.
Matt Mace and James Evison