The UK Government on the 31st of August announced a mini reshuffle of the Cabinet.

This reshuffle has led to the appointment of Grant Shapps becoming the new Secretary of State for Defence, after the resignation of former defence secretary, Ben Wallace.

The role of Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero has been appointed to Claire Coutinho. She has previously held the roles of Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Education and Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Work and Pensions. Within her new role she will have overall responsibility for the UK Government’s Department for Energy Security and Net Zero.

Shadow Secretary of State of Climate Change and Net Zero, Ed Miliband, has stated his concern for the appointment of the new Secretary of State as the role has been filled several times. He states:

“…it speaks volumes about the failures of Tory policy
that we are now on to the sixth secretary of state since 2019.”


He also claims that the former secretary of state hasn’t done enough to help the UK reach energy security. He said:

“The new Energy Secretary needs to recognise
that Grant Shapps’ approach has been a disaster
and distance the government from it.”


Claire Coutinho will have overall responsibility for the UK Government’s Department for Energy Security and Net Zero. Her most important assignment she has taken on with this new role is to get the UK to net zero by 2050. She will also take over the preparations for Britain’s energy security global summit, named the London Energy Security Conference, that will take place at the start of next year (2024).

London Energy Security Conference

The summit, that is set to take place in Spring 2024, was announced by former energy security secretary Grant Shapps in order to allow those worldwide to discuss how to make the world more energy secure and increase the efficiency and sustainability of the world’s energy networks.

The UK Government has announced that this conference will be an opportunity to enhance the UK’s energy security, increase the rate renewables (including nuclear) are being incorporated into the energy network, and support the oil and gas production within the North Sea.

The UK Government is set to invite global senior ministers and bosses within the energy industry, including the oil industry, to discuss energy security.

The former energy security secretary stated that:

“”Energy security does not stop at our borders… Our landmark… conference will bring together international governments and industry leaders to help rewire the global energy system and build collective resilience.”

The conference is part of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s plan to boost the UKs standing worldwide when it comes to energy security.


Claire Coutinho’s new appointed comes before the start of COP28, that is set to take place between Thursday the 30th of November and Tuesday the 12th of December 2023, in Dubai. The UK Government will send, Graham Stuart, the UK’s Minister of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, as Britain’s envoy for COP28.

UK Government to attend COP28

This year will see the 28th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. The themes for this year’s COP will cover health, finance, trade, energy, urbanisation, young people, nature, and agriculture.

The main themes that will cross through every section of the conference includes finance, inclusivity, technology, and the communities that are affected the most.

For more information regarding this year’s COP28, see the United Nations website here.

For information regarding last year’s COP27, see our news, guides, and information, that can be found here.