Claire Perry, who is now known as Claire Perry O’Neill, is to leave her role as President of the UN Climate Change Conference, Coffee House understands. Over the summer, the former Minister of State for Energy and Clean Growth had been nominated to serve as the President of COP 26 – for when the UK takes over the stewardship of the global effort to tackle climate change in a conference in Glasgow this November. However, a Whitehall source says that this will no longer be the case:
‘Everything to do with COP is being integrated with the SoS BEIS from this weekend. Clare Perry will no longer be involved. We wish her well after all her brilliant work.’
In a organisational shake-up, the Business Secretary will have full charge of plans for the conference. That is currently Andrea Leadsom. However, with a reshuffle expected in the Commons in the coming days it could be someone else at the helm soon enough. The move suggests that climate change policy will be staying with BEIS rather than being moved as part of a Whitehall reorganisation.
So, what does this mean for the government’s climate push? Her replacement is unconfirmed but this is expected to become a ministerial position. When Perry worked as energy minister she played a critical rolling in the passage of the net zero legislation in the UK. While her credentials were suited to the role, she is not viewed as particularly close to Johnson. A member of the one nation caucus, when Perry announced that she would not be seeking re-election as a Conservative MP, she said: ‘I have also been clear that I remain in full support of our PM and his brave Brexit strategy as I can see no alternative if we want to honour the Referendum result.’ She later had to clarify that she was not ‘throwing shade’ on Mr Johnson, insisting he was really ‘brave’.
Coffee House has been unable to reach Perry for comment. But she has tweeted:
‘Very sad that that the role I was offered by @BorisJohnson last year has now been rescinded as Whitehall “can’t cope” with an Indy cop unit. A shame we haven’t had one Climate cabinet meeting since we formed. Wishing the cop team every blessing in the climate recovery emergency’