UPDATE: BEIS’ ministerial portfolios have now been confirmed, with Kwasi Kwarteng handed the energy brief.
Andrea Leadsom has returned to the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to succeed Greg Clark as energy secretary.
Leadsom served as energy minister between May 2015 and July 2016 before being given the position of Leader of the House of Commons in Theresa May’s cabinet, and a failed bid to become Conservative Party leader in 2016.
The country will also receive a new permanent energy minister. Claire Perry, who occupied the role for more than two years between June 2017 and July 2019 – but had been on a leave of absence – has been appointed as president of COP 26, to be held in November next year.
Spelthorne MP and former parliamentary under-secretary at the Department for Exiting the European Union, Kwasi Kwarteng, has been handed Perry’s ministerial brief for energy.
Clark left the government yesterday afternoon as Johnson began to shape his new cabinet, removing 17 ministers in what constituted the most significant reshuffle from a serving government in decades.
Tunbridge Wells MP Clark confirmed his departure on Twitter, stating that Johnson was right to appoint a new team.
“It has been an honour to serve the country as Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy for the last 3 years… I am grateful for the support of outstanding civil servants, special advisors and ministerial colleagues during that time,” he wrote.
Leadsom meanwhile said she was “delighted and honoured” to be given the role.
Leadsom takes the position at a critical juncture for the country’s clean economy and green policy, and will be tasked with delivering a legislative framework ambitious enough for the country to transition towards net zero before 2050.
But Leadsom’s track record on green energy is mixed. Her time as energy minister coincided with a stark cut to renewables subsidies and consequent collapse in deployment and new policies said to be in the works to support them – particularly subsidy-free CfDs for proven technologies – never materialised.
Parliament rises for summer recess this afternoon and will return on 3 September, after which one of Leadsom’s more significant duties will be to release the looming energy white paper, which was due for release this summer.
That white paper should be significant for the country’s energy sector promising, as it has done, to underline much of the government’s intended direction for low carbon energy generation and supply.