New SoS for Energy and Net Zero as Government and opposition announce reshuffles

Sat 09 September 2023 View all news

The Prime Minister has announced the appointment of Claire Coutinho MP as Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero. Her appointment follows the resignation of Ben Wallace as Defence Secretary, who has been replaced by Grant Shapps, Coutinho's predecessor at DESNZ. Opposition leader Keir Starmer has also announced a more wide-ranging Labour shadow cabinet reshuffle. 

Claire Coutinho was previously Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Education (2022-3) and held a similar position in the Department for Work and Pensions in 2022. She was elected Conservative MP for East Surrey in December 2019.

Coutinho was formerly an associate at the investment bank Merrill Lynch and worked at Iain Duncan Smith's centre-right think tank Centre for Social Justice (2013-15). She was later a programme director for the industry group Housing and Finance Institute. She worked for accounting firm KPMG as a Corporate Responsibility Manager between 2017 and 2018 before becoming a special adviser at HM Treasury. She initially worked for Chief Whip Julian Smith before becoming an aide to then Chief Secretary to the Treasury Rishi Sunak.

Following the Government's mini-reshuffle, opposition leader Keir Starmer announced a more wide-ranging reshuffle of Labour's front-bench team. While Ed Miliband remains shadow DESNZ Secretary and Louise Haigh retains the shadow Transport portfolio, there are changes in many other shadow ministries. Liz Kendall and Hilary Benn return to the front bench after long absences and there are promotions for Darren Jones, Shabana Mahmood, Thangam Debbonaire, Peter Kyle, Pat McFadden and Ellie Reeves.

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