On August 31, the British government named Claire Coutinho as the new Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero. In her new role, Coutinho is replacing Grant Shapps, who was named defence minister, in British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's cabinet.
Coutinho, whose promotion makes her the first member of parliament elected in 2019 to be promoted to the cabinet, was previously a junior minister working for the Department of Education, responsible for the wellbeing of children and families.
Claire Coutinho's Journey
Claire Coutinho began her career at Merrill Lynch, the investment bank. She then shifted career fields entirely, moving to work in social justice policy. She supported Brexit, and graduated from Oxford University with a Masters degree in Maths and Philosophy. Before becoming a member of parliament, she also worked as an aide for Rishi Sunak when he was a junior minister in the finance ministry.
At 38, Coutinho has become the youngest member of Rishi Sunak's cabinet, and the second Goan origin minister after Home Secretary Suella Braverman. With the rising costs of energy thanks to the Russia-Ukraine War, Coutinho's entry into the cabinet is one made during a time of crisis for the United Kingdom. However, Coutinho's first post on social media after her appointment reaffirms her commitment to protect the UK's energy security, lessening costs for families whilst growing a cleaner energy industry.
In her post, she states that she is "delighted to have been appointed Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero."
I am delighted to have been appointed Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero.— Claire Coutinho MP (@ClaireCoutinho) August 31, 2023
I will work with the Prime Minister to safeguard our energy security, reduce bills for families, and build cleaner, cheaper, homegrown energy. https://t.co/qs9mg10ZHE
Following the resignation of Ben Wallace, Coutinho replaces Grant Shapps after he was promoted to the office of Defence Secretary.
According to Reuters, "Coutinho has opposed the expansion of London's Ultra Low Emission Zone by the city's Labour mayor Sadiq Khan, which aims to cut traffic emission by imposing a daily charge on the most polluting vehicles."