17 November 2021

No plan for Sharma to be handed new climate change ministry, says PM

17 November 2021

Boris Johnson has denied plans to break up the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to create a new Cabinet post for Alok Sharma.

The Cop26 President has won plaudits for his handling of the Glasgow summit negotiations and there had been speculation he could be handed a new energy and climate change ministry.

But at the Commons Liaison Committee, the Prime Minister dismissed reports that Kwasi Kwarteng’s department could be split up to create a new role for Mr Sharma.

Darren Jones, chairman of the Commons BEIS committee, questioned Mr Johnson on reports a new energy and climate change department could be created.

“We have no such plans,” Mr Johnson said. “One of the great things about Cop26 was that we brought business and the environment together.”

He said Mr Sharma, who sits in the Cabinet in his current job, was playing a major role internationally to secure the commitments made at the Cop26 summit in Glasgow.

“What we have is a Cop president in Alok Sharma who will help to continue to ensure that our climate change objectives, the world’s climate change objectives, are delivered,” he said.

Alok Sharma during the Cop26 opening ceremony in Glasgow (PA) (PA Wire)

Mr Sharma will work with the incoming Egyptian presidency of the Cop process and “the real job of work now is global”.

“We have to make sure that everybody – all the 190-plus countries – stick to the commitments that they have made and make Cop26 real.”

But the Prime Minister was unable to precisely say when he last chaired a meeting of the Cabinet’s key climate change committee, or when its next session would be held.

Mr Johnson is the designated chairman of the climate action strategy committee.

Asked when he last chaired the panel, Mr Johnson told MPs: “I can’t give you the date, it was not very long ago.”

Asked when the next one would be, he said: “We are driving the whole green industrial revolution throughout Government and it’s something that I set out in the 10-point plan almost exactly a year ago.

“We’ve been leading it from the centre but also relying on departments of state to get on and do it.”

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