Jacob Rees-Mogg has taken over the energy brief as part of the new prime minister Liz Truss’ cabinet reshuffle.
The Brexiteer is a survivor of Boris Johnson’s government, now taking on the dual role of business secretary, alongside the more junior energy office, after Kwasi Kwarteng moved to Chancellor.
But climate change will not fall under Rees-Mogg’s remit, with Graham Stuart having been appointed as minister for the climate in BEIS.
It is thought Truss had originally planned to give the MP for North East Somersetthe responsibility, but backed down following pressure from green Tory MPs.
It is an honour to be appointed as the new Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. I look forward to serving the Prime Minister and the country during the challenging times ahead. https://t.co/celkpMOHBe
— Jacob Rees-Mogg (@Jacob_Rees_Mogg) September 6, 2022
Rees-Mogg, a controversial minister formerly in charge of the “Brexit opportunities” brief, will be responsible for the UK’s response to the unprecedented energy crisis.
It comes as the new PM thrashes out plans to slash bills for households and businesses amid the rising prices, the former costing around £130 billion according to news agency Bloomberg.
An Old Etonian, Rees-Mogg is on record as describing the UK’s net zero by 2050 target as a “long way off” and a “huge regulatory cost”, while supporting policies for fracking and maximising oil and gas recovery from the North Sea.
His appointment also comes as industry and government aim to meet climate emissions targets; for the UK North Sea that means hitting a 50% cut by 2030 versus a 2018 baseline.
Activist group Greenpeace described him as “the last person who should be in charge of the energy crisis”.
Head of politics at the NGO, Rebecca Newsom, said: ““This will either be a massive own goal for Truss’s efforts to tackle the cost of living crisis or Rees-Mogg will have to do the steepest learning curve in history as he gets to grips with the issues facing our country.”
Greg Hands was the previous energy minister under Boris Johnson.
Other high-profile roles for the energy industry include Alok Sharma being reappointed COP26 president.
The newly appointed prime minister Liz Truss named energy as one of her three “early priorities” in her first speech following the queen granting her permission to form a new government.
Truss said she will deal “hands-on with the energy crisis caused by Putin’s war.
“I will take action this week to deal with energy bills and to secure our future energy supply.”
— UK Prime Minister (@10DowningStreet) September 6, 2022
Her other two “early priorities” were boosting the economy and to bolster the NHS.
Demonstrators outside of Downing Street played Tears for Fears’ Mad World as Liz Truss delivered her first speech as prime minister.
The full reshuffle stands (at time of publication) as follows:
- Therese Coffey – Deputy PM and Health secretary
- Kwasi Kwarteng – Chancellor
- James Cleverly – Foreign secretary
- Suella Braverman – Home secretary
- Kemi Badenoch – International trade secretary
- Jacob Rees-Mogg – Business
- Graham Stuart – Climate
- Alok Sharma – COP26 Persident
- Wendy Morton – Secretary to the Treasury (chief whip)
- Brandon Lewis – Justice secretary
- Ranil Jayawardena – Environment secretary
- Nadhim Zahawi – Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Equalities minister
- Penny Mordaunt – Leader of the House of Commons
- Lord True – Leader of the House of Lords
- Jake Berry – Party chairman and minister without portfolio
- Ben Wallace – Defence secretary (maintained)
- Simon Clark – Secretary for levelling up, housing and communities
- Anne-Marie Trevelyan – Transport Secretary
- Chloe Smith – Work and pensions secretary
- Kit Malthouse – Education secretary
- Michelle Donelan – Culture secretary
- Chris Heaton-Harris – Northern Ireland secretary
- Alister Jack – Scotland secretary
- Sir Robert Buckland – Wales secretary