Mon, 27 May 2024

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Kwasi Kwarteng Has Been Appointed Business Secretary, Replacing Alok Sharma

2 min read

Kwasi Kwarteng has been appointed the UK's new business secretary. His predecessor Alok Sharma will concentrate on overseeing the COP26 global climate change summit full time.

In February 2020 Sharma was appointed president of the UN COP 26 conference, which is due to be held in Glasgow this autumn and he will now solely focus on this brief.

There had been criticism that the role was too significant for the UK's global reputation to be done by someone simultaneously leading a Whitehall department.

Sharma will be based in the Cabinet Office, though report to the Prime Minister, not the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Michael Gove, and continue as a full member of Cabinet. 

He said: “Given the vital importance of tackling climate change I am delighted to have been asked by the Prime Minister to dedicate all my energies to this urgent task.”

The government has pledged to meet net zero carbon emissions by 2050 and end the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles by 2030.

Former Brexit and business minister Kwarteng, who has been an MP since 2010, is believed to be the Conservative's first black secretary of state. Labour's Paul Boateng became the first ever black cabinet minister when he was appointed chief secretary to the Treasury in 2002.

Kwarteng's parents migrated to the UK from Ghana as students in the 1960s. His mother was a barrister and his father an economist in the Commonwealth Secretariat.

After studying classics and history at Trinity College, Cambridge, Kwarteng later attended Harvard university as a Kennedy Scholarship. 

Former international development secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan has been appointed a business minister. 

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