The government has named its new minister for the nuclear industry.

Andrew Stephenson replaces Richard Harrington who tendered his resignation to prime minister Theresa May so that that he could back plans for the House of Commons to hold indicative votes on the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.

Stephenson, who backed leaving the EU in June 2016’s Brexit referendum, has taken over his predecessor’s portfolio as parliamentary under-secretary in the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) department, including the nuclear industry.

The MP, who represents the Lancashire mill town constituency of Pendle, has not held a departmental portfolio previously.

Since the 2017 general election, the 38-year old has been a government whip. Before joining the whip’s office, he was parliamentary private secretary to Boris Johnson when he was foreign secretary.

In his maiden speech as an MP, Stephenson called for a relaxation of the then requirement that holiday lets should be required to provide an energy performance certificate (EPC).

The government subsequently exempted holiday homes from the requirement for EPCs.

In his new portfolio, Stephenson’s in-tray will include overseeing the implantation of the UK’s post-Brexit nuclear safeguarding arrangements, kickstarting the atomic power plant programme following recent setbacks on the Moorside and Wylfa projects and the small modular reactor initiative.

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