Revealed: Harrington to become 19th energy minister in as many years

The Press and Journal can reveal that English Conservative MP Richard Harrington is due to be confirmed as the new energy minister.

He is expected to take on the junior ministerial post previously held by Jesse Norman, who has been moved to the Department for Transport.

Mr Harrington, who has represented Watford since 2010, will become the 19th energy minister in as many years.

While his brief has not yet been officially outlined, he is likely to lead on the bulk of energy matters, with Claire Perry taking responsibility for climate change.

SNP deputy Westminster leader Kirsty Blackman said she would be seeking a meeting as soon as possible to highlight the importance of oil and gas to Aberdeen, the north-east and wider country. She added: “It beggars belief that something that is so important for my constituency has had so many ministers in charge in a very short period of time.”

The Aberdeen MP said, when she had come across Mr Harrington in the past, he had been keen to ensure MPs of all parties were provided with briefings. “I’m hoping he continues that in this role,” she added.

Former Scottish secretary Alistair Carmichael also criticised the “rate at which the Conservatives go through energy ministers”. The northern isles MP added: “Richard Harrington must be at least a bit worried that he will not be a long-term fixture in government. Of course, it should be different. This should be a big job at the heart of the government’s industrial strategy.

“The fact that it isn’t tells you a lot about their understanding of energy policy.”

Mr Harrington, who attended a grammar school in Leeds and then Oxford University on a scholarship, previously served at the equivalent ministerial rank – parliamentary under secretary of state – in the Department for Work and Pensions. He also has junior ministerial experience at the Home Office and at the departments for international development and local government and communities.

Outwith politics, his business career started with John Lewis and he eventually ran a company which, at its peak, had 2,000 employees in seven countries.

Greg Clark remains as the secretary of state at the Department for Business, Enterprise and Industrial Strategy and has overall responsibility.

Meanwhile, Tory MEP Ian Duncan’s appointment as David Mundell’s number two at the Scotland Office has been confirmed.

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