Days after sacking the chair of the Conservative Party , Nadhim Zahawi, after a controversy around Mr Zahawi’s tax affairs, U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced a partial reshuffle of his cabinet, including a new Chair, Greg Hands, who has been the Minister of State for Trade. With a general election on the horizon next year, Mr. Sunak is seeking to push forward on his agenda, creating new departments and reorganising old ones, while attempting to consolidate his leadership of the party.
The Department for Business, Energy, Innovation was split, with Grant Shapps, the Business Secretary now heading a Department for Energy Security and Net Zero. The Department will focus on the U.K.’s “long-term energy supply, bringing down bills and halving inflation”, as per a Downing Street statement.
“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,” shadow climate secretary, Ed Miliband said on Twitter.
As part of Tuesday’s reshuffle, Kemi Badenoch, who was the International Trade Secretary, will have a larger portfolio as Business and Trade Secretary focusing on business abroad and in the U.K. Ms. Badenoch has been leading the U.K. side in trade talks with India as the two countries work their way to concluding a bilateral trade deal.
A new Department for Science, Innovation and Technology will be headed my Michelle Donelan, who formerly headed the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. That department has now been downsized and will be headed by Lucy Frazer. Mr Sunak had said last year during his campaign for No. 10 Downing Street that he wanted to make the “science and technology superpower”.
“The changes will ensure the right skills and teams are focussed on the Prime Minister’s five promises: to halve inflation, grow the economy, reduce debt, cut waiting lists [ for health services] and stop the boats [ i.e., illegal migration across the English Channel] ,” 10 Downing Street said in a statement.