Claire Perry is taking a temporary leave of absence from her post as energy and clean growth minister to care for a close relative who is unwell.
The MP for Devizes announced last night on Twitter that she will be taking a temporary ministerial leave of absence and that Chris Skidmore, minister of state for universities and science in the BEIS (business, energy and industrial strategy) department, will be covering the energy brief in her absence.
Skidmore, who is MP for the Bristol constituency of Kingswood, will also attend meetings of the Cabinet in Perry’s absence.
Perry said: “I am extremely grateful to @theresa_may for allowing me to take a temporary ministerial leave of absence to care for a family member and huge thanks to my talented colleague @CSkidmoreUK for covering the crucial energy and clean growth brief whilst I’m away.”
On Twitter, Skidmore said that is he is “honoured” to have been asked by the prime minister to cover the energy and clean growth ministerial portfolio on a temporary basis.
“I will try my best to match Claire’s huge dedication and commitment to this crucially important brief,” he added.
The 38-year old Skidmore was parliamentary private secretary to George Osborne when he was chancellor of the exchequer and has also served as a junior minister in the Cabinet Office.
In a statement, No 10 Downing Street confirmed Skidmore will handle the climate and energy brief alongside his existing ministerial responsibilities for education reform and science, research and innovation.
“The minister of state for energy and clean growth, Claire Perry, will be taking a temporary leave of absence to care for a close family member who is unwell,” it said.
“In her absence, the current minister of state for universities, science, research and innovation, Chris Skidmore, will be providing temporary ministerial cover for the energy and clean growth portfolio.”
Perry’s absence occurs when the government is mulling over how to respond to the Committee on Climate Change’s recently published advice that the UK can meet a target of net zero emissions by 2050.
Another big item in Skidmore’s in-tray is the energy white paper, which business and energy secretary of state Greg Clark has previously said will be published in the summer.