Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has announced a new-look cabinet and has appointed a new Tory party chairman.
Rishi Sunak has been looking for a new party chairman for over a week, after the sacking of Nadhim Zahawi.
It was announced this morning that Grant Shapps, will take up a new role as energy security secretary, while Kemi Badenoch will become the new business and trade secretary.
The new Tory party chairman will be Greg Hands, who has been an MP for Chelsea and Fulham, previously Hammersmith and Fulham, since 2005.
The former trade policy minister Mr Hands, takes over the role that will involve leading the Tories through the next election.
Number 10 confirmed Mr Shapps will be made energy security and net zero secretary in the newly created department.
The role is said to be dedicated to securing the UK’s ‘long-term energy supply, bringing down bills and halving inflation’.
And former Tory leadership contender Ms Badenoch will move from international trade secretary to business and trade secretary, taking over part of the job Mr Shapps leaves vacant and maintaining her previous role.
She will remain president of the board of trade and minister for women and equalities.
Culture Secretary Michelle Donelan is the new Secretary for Science, Innovation and Technology, another newly formed department.
Sunak has been looking for a new party chair after Mr Zahawi was sacked following an ethics inquiry into the handling of his tax affairs, which found a ‘serious breach’ of the ministerial code.
During his Tory leadership campaign in the summer of 2022, Mr Sunak pledged to re-establish a Department of Energy in order to secure the future of the UK’s energy supply.
The original Department of Energy and Climate Change was disbanded in 2016.
But environmental campaign group Greenpeace warned that Rishi Sunak’s expected creation of a new energy department may not address the climate crisis.
Greenpeace UK’s director of policy Dr Doug Parr said: ‘As climate disasters intensify, energy costs spiral and the world continues to sink under rising seas, without other fundamental reforms, re-establishing a department for energy will be as helpful as rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.
‘It’s government policy and underinvestment that is holding back real action on the climate and energy crises, not the departments or ministers in place.
‘Unless the new-look department for energy is given the freedom and funding to rapidly scale up renewable energy production – both offshore and on – to sure up domestic supply, as well as roll out a nationwide scheme to insulate the tens of millions of energy-wasting homes across the country, what’s the point?’
Shadow climate secretary Ed Miliband said that it looked like Rishi Sunak was now admitting that the decision to get rid of the Department of Energy in 2016 was a mistake.
‘So seven years after the disastrous decision to abolish the Department of Energy, the Conservatives now admit they got it wrong, but a rearranging of deckchairs on the sinking Titanic of failed Conservative energy policy will not rescue the country,’ the Labour MP tweeted.
‘Britain’s energy bills are too high and our system too weak because of years of disastrous decisions: the ongoing onshore wind ban, blocking of solar, slashing of energy efficiency, disastrous regulation of the retail market and an unlawful net zero plan. All this must change.’
The potential overhaul could be ‘relatively limited’, with a ‘domino’ effect caused by the naming of a successor for Mr Zahawi, The Times reported, citing a Government source.
Dominic Raab survived the re-huffle as Mr Sunak has indicated he will wait for the outcome of an inquiry into the Deputy Prime Minister’s conduct before taking any action.
Mr Raab, who is also the Justice Secretary, is being investigated by senior lawyer Adam Tolley KC over bullying allegations – with dozens of officials thought to be involved in eight formal complaints. Mr Raab has denied the bullying allegations.
Development minister Andrew Mitchell, told Times Radio: ‘I’m certainly not expecting to be called upon to do that.
‘But one should always try to do what the Prime Minister wants you to do.’
Treasury minister Andrew Griffiths would not be drawn on the prospect of breaking up the business department.
‘If the Prime Minister has got something to say on how to reorganise government then we’ll have to wait and see that,’ he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.
Asked if it was a mistake to disband the Department of Energy and Climate Change in 2016, he said he joined government from a business background.
‘To me, it is all about outcomes, it is not about process. Obviously if there are ways of streamlining the way this Government can deliver on the people’s priorities, then that’s important.’
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