New Secretary of State for BEIS after Boris’ reshuffle
Alok Sharma has been appointed as Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and Minister for COP26, following the sacking of Andrea Leadsom and Claire Perry respectively.
Sharma was elected Conservative MP for Reading West in 2010, and previously worked as a Minister of State for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (June 2017 – January 2018).
Prior to his role as International Development Secretary he was Minister of State for the Department for Work and Pensions (Jan 2018 - July 2019).
Last week, No. 10 said the PM wanted a “big hitter who could handle themselves on the international stage” for the COP26 Presidency. Given his relatively low profile, many will question whether Sharma is that figure, though his role as Secretary of State for International Development has given him experience on the international stage.
He has rarely publicly discussed energy or environmental issues, though in a debate in October 2019, he said “our new Environment Bill will guide our country towards a cleaner and greener future. Under the Conservatives, we will continue to proudly lead the world in this area.”
Alok first entered government working with Boris as the Parliamentary Under-Secretary for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Jul 2016 - Jun 2017), experience he will no doubt utilise in his role as Minister for COP26. He believes that post-Brexit we need to ‘project a global footprint’ and build our relationships with other nations. He has spoken warmly about Boris’s achievements in the foreign office – taking on more diplomats and driving a successful Commonwealth summit.