Green highlights: Boris Johnson’s cabinet reshuffle
Boris Johnson started his tenure as Prime Minister by reaffirming climate change targets set under Theresa May, but signalled a new approach by bringing in a raft of new cabinet members.
In his first speech as Prime Minister to the House of Commons on 25 July, Boris Johnson confirmed he would follow his predecessor’s pledge to lead the UK to ‘net zero emissions’ by 2050, adding that the country “will be the home of electric vehicles - car, even planes, powered by British-made battery technology being developed right here, right now.”
Private sector approach
When pressed by MPs later, he added that his approach would be to unleash the private sector to lead the way and “deliver hundreds of thousands of jobs”.
The Prime Minister sent a clear signal of a changing approach by sacking secretary of state for business, energy and industrial strategy (BEIS), Greg Clark, and replacing him with Andrea Leadsom.
Greg Clark had played a key role in developing the government’s modern Industrial Strategy, which identified 'Clean Growth’ as one of four main priorities for public investment.
‘Hit the ground running’
Writing to the new business secretary after her appointment, Rachel Reeves, chair of Parliament’s cross-party BEIS Committee, said: “It is clear the new secretary of state will need to hit the ground running and act quickly to ramp up efforts on the politics and actions crucial to tackling climate change and capitalising on the opportunities of a low carbon economy.”
The committee chair also said Andrea Leadsom would have to overcome any “resistance” from the Treasury to fund the low carbon transition - referring to new Chancellor of the Exchequer Sajid Javid.
Meanwhile, Claire Perry, who had been serving as minister for energy and clean growth, has been appointed as ‘COP26 President’ - the lead role for preparing for and managing a landmark UN climate summit in 2020 which will be co-hosted by the UK.
Michael Gove, who had made progress on a number of fronts while environment secretary under Theresa May, particularly with regard to plastic waste and the government’s 25 Year Environment Plan, has been moved to the role of Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and de facto deputy Prime Minister.
The environment brief has been handed to Theresa Villiers, who said sustainability, biodiversity and the natural environment would be a “strong focus” under her tenure as part of the government’s forthcoming Environment Bill.
Posted under General Interest on 7 August 2019