Graham Stuart: Who is the new climate minister?

Here is what we know about MP Graham Stuart who has been appointed as climate minister by new Prime Minister Liz Truss.

Graham Stuart. Photo taken September 2020

Graham Stuart, MP for Beverley and Holderness was last night appointed as climate minister. Stuart appears to be replacing Greg Hands, who tweeted that he is “disappointed to be leaving the government.”

However, Hands still appears on the department for business, energy and industrial strategy (BEIS) website as minister for Energy, Clean Growth and Climate Change.

On seeking clarification, BEIS told ENDS: “As all appointments are yet to be made it wouldn’t be appropriate for us to comment on particular roles’ remits at this stage.”

Stuart, MP for Beverley and Holderness, has recently described climate change on his blog as “one of the greatest challenges we will face in this lifetime”.

Responsibilities

His role will be to support new energy secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg, the new business, energy and industrial sectors secretary on issues and policies related to climate, such as the green deal, the energy crisis, fuel poverty and climate change although at the time of writing the exact responsibilities have not yet been updated.

Within his own constituency, Stuart has demonstrated a keen interest in renewables, putting his support behind Orsted’s Hornsea Two Project, recently declared the world's largest offshore wind farm, and Drax biomass power station, which reportedly fuels 6% of England’s electricity needs, and 15% of its renewable power, through public visits this year.

Richard Gwilliam, chair of the Humber Energy Board and head of cluster development at Drax, told Business Live: "It is great to see Humber MP Graham Stuart appointed to the new cabinet with responsibility for climate. I look forward to working with him to deliver the world’s first net zero industrial cluster in our region."

Political background

Before this appointment, the Cambridge University Alumni was the minister of state at the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office from 7 July 2022 and joined the Department for International Trade in January 2018.

In Parliament, Stuart chaired the Education Select Committee between 2010 and 2015 and was assistant government whip with responsibility for the Department of Health, and later for HM Treasury and the Ministry of Defence between 2016 and 2018. Stuart voted in favour of remaining in the EU in the 2016 referendum.

His voting track record shows he has consistently toed the party line, including on key issues such as preventing climate change. In January 2021 he voted not to require public authorities to act in accordance with the following principles in relation to the environment: preventative action to avert damage; the precautionary principle; rectifying damage at source and "polluter pays'', according to parliamentary monitoring website TheyWorkForYou.

What is in his in-tray

Stuart will be working closely with energy secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg. Key concerns will be energy bills, with an announcement expected from Truss’s government  later today  Rees-Mogg has been supportive of fracking, and also recently suggested  "every last drop" of oil should be extracted from the North Sea.

READ MORE: What to expect from Rees-Mogg as energy secretary

Stuart is expected to focus on targets introduced when Boris Johnson was in office, with a particular focus on renewable energy production such as offshore wind and green hydrogen which is important to the industries in his constituency.The Net Zero Strategy, carbon budgets, industrial decarbonisation and nuclear power are just a few other areas that Stuart within the climate minister’s portfolio.