Who is Energy Secretary Claire Coutinho?

Claire Coutinho became the new Energy Security and Net Zero Secretary but who is the Conservative Party MP?

Who is Energy Secretary Claire Coutinho f

She also spent time in the Treasury as a special adviser.

Conservative Party MP Claire Coutinho has been appointed the new Energy Security and Net Zero Secretary, replacing Grant Shapps in one of the government’s top jobs.

It is a significant promotion for the East Surrey MP, who was only elected to parliament in December 2019.

Ms Coutinho held her previous junior role as Children’s Minister for less than a year but is a longtime ally of Rishi Sunak.

She served as an advisor to the Prime Minister before entering the Commons when he was Chief Secretary to the Treasury.

Ms Coutinho also backed Mr Sunak’s bid to become leader when Boris Johnson stepped down.

Ms Coutinho is the first member of the 2019 intake of Tory MPs to make it to the cabinet table.

Her promotion is no surprise to her colleagues but who is Claire Coutinho?

Widely seen as a rising star of the Tory party, Ms Coutinho has a similar background to Mr Sunak.

The daughter of doctors from India, Ms Coutinho attended James Allen’s Girls’ School, a private day school in Dulwich.

She went on to study mathematics and philosophy at Oxford University.

Claire Coutinho began her career at the Merrill Lynch investment bank before joining Iain Duncan Smith’s Centre for Social Justice.

She also spent time in the Treasury as a special adviser.

In 2012, Ms Coutinho also set up the Novel Diner – an events company that hosted dinners based on books including The Great Gatsby, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, American Psycho and The Bell Jar.

The company, which she ran with food writer Mina Holland, dissolved in 2015.

She also appeared as a contestant in Channel 4’s The Taste, a cooking reality show that was judged by Nigella Lawson and the late Anthony Bourdain.

After being elected East Surrey MP in 2019, she returned to the Treasury as a Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) in March 2020.

Ms Coutinho remained in the role until July 2022 when she left Mr Johnson’s government over his handling of the Chris Pincher affair.

She was a vocal supporter of Mr Sunak’s failed leadership bid to replace Mr Johnson.

But she still went on to become Minister for Disabled People under Liz Truss.

Claire Coutinho was given a ministerial job in the Department for Education a month later when the Truss administration collapsed and Mr Sunak became Prime Minister.

Ms Coutinho’s arrival into cabinet comes amid accusations that Mr Sunak and his ministers are going back on environmental commitments and net-zero aims, with critics hitting out at plans to grant new licences for oil and gas extraction in the North Sea.

While critics of Mr Shapps have heralded his departure, it remains to be seen if Claire Coutinho will bring any great change in policymaking.

She recently objected to the expansion of London’s ULEZ, joining other Tory MPs in calling it a policy “clearly rejected by the people” during the summer’s Uxbridge by-election and labelling it a “tax on those who can least afford it”.

Dhiren is a journalism graduate with a passion for gaming, watching films and sports. He also enjoys cooking from time to time. His motto is to “Live life one day at a time.”

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