Last week was a week of endings and new beginnings. It saw the end of the summer term, for many schools and Parliament, the end of Theresa May’s time as our Prime Minister and the end of my, and many other colleagues’ time as Government Ministers. It has been an honour to serve this wonderful country under the dignified and committed leadership of Theresa May.
However, as these chapters come to an end, we move straight to the next chapter – with summer holidays getting off to a gloriously sunny start, a new Prime Minister launching straight into action and a new job for me. When I met with the new Prime Minister on Wednesday evening, I decided to relinquish my role as Minister for Energy and Clean Growth so that I could accept the honour of being appointed President of COP26 – the UN Climate Change conference which the UK has bid to host with Italy in 2021. It has been such a privilege to work with so many amazing civil servants in the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, where we have delivered the Clean Growth Strategy, the Offshore Wind Sector Deal, the Powering Past Coal Alliance and of course our COP26 bid.
Having secured the support of Cabinet for the UK bid, and delivered our world leading net zero target, I am very excited to take on this new role. It is a huge task and important opportunity to demonstrate our global leadership in tackling climate change, and our commitment to end our contribution to emissions by 2050 through the innovation and determination of UK businesses and people, which has seen us lead the world in reducing our emissions while continuing to grow our economy.
Of course, I am not the only one starting a new job, and I would like to offer my congratulations to our new Prime Minister who has already got off to a very energised start to his premiership. He will of course, face enormous challenges: a country still divided over Brexit, a very narrow majority in Parliament and a looming deadline to find a way through the current Brexit impasse. It is a tall ask, but I am confident that our new Prime Minister can succeed, so long as he works constructively with colleagues across the House, with businesses and industry, and with our friends in Europe.