Liz Truss’s appointment of Vicky Ford and Graham Stuart to attend Cabinet suggests Britain’s new prime minister is prioritising development and climate transition in her vision to take the country forward.
In a clear sign she is determined to focus on a nationwide plan to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050, Alok Sharma was reappointed as Cop26 president.
Ms Truss chose Ms Ford to attend Cabinet as minister for development in the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, signalling a shift in foreign aid policy.
Ms Ford, who served as parliamentary under secretary of state for Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean in Boris Johnson’s administration, has been outspoken about the shocking effects of climate change she has witnessed first-hand around the globe. She has also emphasised the urgent need for world leaders to stay true to the climate promises they made at Cop26 in Glasgow last year.
“I think that it was incredibly important that countries from all across the world came together to make those promises and they were their promises of how they were going to work towards reducing carbon,” she said in an interview with Bloomberg Live in May. “The UK, as president of Cop, feels a really important role, and I’ve discussed this with Alok Sharma, to encourage those countries who all made these really important promises to actually deliver on them.”
“I’ve been in Malawi where I’ve met young girls whose schools have been washed away by the flood,” she said. “I’ve met just tragedy of the drought in Somalia.”
Mr Stuart was given the role of minister for climate in the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, and will also attend Cabinet, Downing Street said. The former minister for export visited Dubai in 2021 where he said collaboration in clean energy and life sciences would play a key role in strengthening UK-UAE relations.
The newcomers, along with old faces, were seen arriving at No 10 on Wednesday morning ahead of Ms Truss’s first Cabinet meeting. Ministers are finalising the details of an emergency package of help to east the effects of the cost-of-living crisis for households in Britain.
Queen Elizabeth II appointed Ms Truss prime minister at Balmoral on Tuesday, after Mr Johnson formally resigned. The new Conservative leader cracked the whip by sacking MPs who had backed her rival Rishi Sunak in the party leadership race, and ushered in a string of new faces to work on her agenda. The cull led to Dominic Raab, Grant Shapps, George Eustace and Steve Barclay being banished to the backbenches.
The new Tory leader ― the third woman to lead the UK ― travelled back to London and gave a speech outside No 10 Downing Street in which she extolled the achievements of her predecessor’s government in which she served as international trade secretary, minister for women and equalities and foreign secretary.
In her first address to the nation as prime minister, Ms Truss vowed not to ignore families and individuals struggling with soaring energy bills. One of her first acts as leader is expected to be the announcement this week of a plan to freeze bills.
“I’m confident that together we can ride out the storm, we can rebuild our economy and we can become the modern, brilliant Britain that I know we can be,” she said.
Ms Truss will on Wednesday face off with opposition leader Sir Keir Starmer in her first session of Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons.