‘Work starts now’, new Conservative chair Greg Hands follows

Rishi Sunak has appointed Greg Hands as the new chairman of the Conservative Party as the Prime Minister reshuffles her top team.

Mr Hands, who serves in government as international trade minister, will replace Nadim Zahavi who was sacked as party chairman over a scandal involving his taxes.

Other movers include Grant Shapps who becomes the new energy security and net zero secretary, Michelle Donnellan who becomes the new science, innovation and technology secretary and Kemi Badenoch who takes a stronger role as business and trade secretary.

The reshuffle comes after the Prime Minister decided to disband the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, creating the trio of new roles listed above in the process.

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Meanwhile, former equalization minister Lucy Fraser replaces Ms Donnellan as the new secretary of state for culture, media and sport.

In a tweet at 11.24am, Greg Hands said he was “thrilled” to have asked the Prime Minister to become party chairman.

He added: “I joined the party in 1986 – a ward chairman in 1992, a councilor in 1998, a group leader in 1999, an MP in 2005, a minister in 2011 – an honor to chair it in 2023! The work begins now.”

Meanwhile, environmental group Greenpeace has criticized the idea of ​​a new department dedicated to energy, arguing that it is “government policy and underinvestment that is holding back real action on the climate and energy crisis”.

Dr Doug Parr, policy director at Greenpeace UK, said: “Unless a new look at the energy sector is given the freedom and funding to rapidly increase renewable energy production – both offshore and on-shore – to ensure domestic supply. What does this mean when a nationwide scheme is rolled out to insulate millions of energy-wasting homes across the country?”

Rishi Sunak promised a new energy department during his failed campaign to replace Boris Johnson last summer. There was a separate Department of Energy before Theresa May merged it with the Business Department in 2016.

Labour’s Ed Miliband, who ran the former Department of Energy and Climate Change under Gordon Brown, is among those arguing for its return.

Commenting on the report ahead of the announcement of the new department, Mr Miliband said the Conservatives had now “admitted they made a mistake” when they disbanded the Department of Energy and Climate Change in 2016.

Labour’s shadow climate change secretary tweeted: “So seven years after the disastrous decision to abolish the Department of Energy, the Conservatives now admit they got it wrong, but re-arranging the deckchairs on the sinking Titanic of failed Conservative energy policy will not save the country. ”

One notable member of the cabinet to keep their post is Dominic Raab, who has been the subject of a series of bullying allegations.

Asked whether the Prime Minister should use today’s reshuffle to remove Dominic Raab from Cabinet, International Development Minister Andrew Mitchell responded: “No. There is a process around these allegations about Dominique and that process should be followed. We live in a country that believes in a system of fairness and justice and that is what is set up and I don’t think it should be preempted in any way”.

Also toured the media studio this morning, was the economic secretary of the Treasury Andrew Griffiths. Asked if it was a mistake to disband the Department of Energy and Climate Change in 2016, he said: “To me, it’s about the outcome, it’s not about the process. Obviously if there is a way to streamline the way this government can deliver on people’s priorities, that’s important”.