April 19, 2024

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The Telegraph

Kwasi Kwarteng becomes first black Conservative Secretary of State

Boris Johnson has appointed the Conservatives’ first black Secretary of State after Alok Sharma relinquished the role of Business Secretary to focus on hosting this year’s COP26 climate conference. Kwasi Kwarteng, who previously served under Mr Sharma, will now step up to run the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). He had previously been tipped to take over as president of the global climate summit in Glasgow, but Mr Sharma, who has been leading on the preparations since February last year, has been asked to take on the role full-time. Anne-Marie Trevelyan, who lost her place in Cabinet as a result of the Department for International Trade merging with the Foreign Office, has also returned to fill Mr Kwarteng’s former role as minister for business, energy and clean growth. It comes after former ministers, businesses and environmental groups expressed concern that Mr Sharma would struggle to juggle his duties as a Cabinet minister with running the largest conference ever hosted by the UK. Some have suggested the Government is currently behind schedule compared to the run up to the 2015 Paris conference hosted by France, which resulted in nations signing up to ambitious new carbon-cutting targets under the Paris Agreement. The summit, which was postponed in November last year by 12 months to covid-19, is seen as a vital part of the Prime Minister’s environmental agenda and his vision for “Global Britain” post-Brexit, bringing together nearly 200 countries and 90,000 delegates. Having recently unveiled a 10-point plan for a green industrial revolution, including bringing forward the ban on sale of petrol and diesel cars to 2030, Mr Johnson is said to view the summit as a chance to build ties with the US president-elect Joe Biden. Mr Biden has pledged to reverse Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris Agreement and his new administration’s support is seen as vital to the Glasgow summit’s success.