“Clark remains in BEIS pole, but his sway is diminished”

Greg Clark may have survived as secretary of state for business and energy, but his position looks a lot more embattled than it did before this week’s Cabinet reshuffle.
Clark will have had a nervous weekend, having been identified as lined up for the chop in Monday’s shake-up. “Dead wood” was how the Tunbridge Wells MP was described by a Whitehall source in one newspaper.
Clark is clearly a thoughtful individual, but at times has had trouble articulating his message in the broadcast studios.
His admission during a TV interview that he had never switched energy suppliers has given the minister a detached air when discussing the bread and butter issue of utility price caps.
Others complain he has dithered. Utilities would endorse that after long waits for progress on issues such as the Clean Growth Strategy, which took nearly a year and a half to emerge.
But while Clark may remain in pole position at BEIS, his sway there looks diminished following a promotion for his minister of state Claire Perry. While Perry retains that rank, her profile has been given a leg-up with the announcement she will be attending Cabinet meetings.
The bigger picture, though, is that BEIS’s two key policy hitters, both of whom are committed to the shift to a low-carbon economy, remain in place.
And the elevation of Perry, a strong advocate of action to tackle climate change, looks like it is designed to send a message to environmentally conscious voters that the government takes the issue seriously.

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