Claire Coutinho has been appointed energy secretary in a promotion to a top cabinet role, amid a mini-reshuffle of the Prime Minister’s core team.
It follows Grant Shapps moving over to the Ministry of Defence (MoD) after defence secretary Ben Wallace resigned from cabinet ahead of stepping down as an MP at the next general election.
Shapps, former secretary of state at the Department of Energy Security and Net Zero (DESNZ), was appointed defence secretary earlier this morning.
Coutinho, former children’s minister and Treasury special advisor, has now taken over the energy and green brief.
The move will be seen as an elevation for the Sunak ally, who has been a Tory MP for East Surrey since 2019, making her the first of that year’s intake of MPs to enter cabinet.
Downing Street confirmed the move and said David Johnston, Tory MP for Wantage, would join the Department for Education as a parliamentary under secretary of state.
Sunak is expected to carry out a wider cabinet reshuffle later this autumn, following a reported decision to delay a summer shake-up.
Names in the frame have included environment minister Therese Coffey, while speculation has mounted that Sunak may be planning to replace his home secretary Suella Braverman.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer is also expected to shake up his shadow front bench this autumn.
He is reportedly not set to echo Sunak’s departmental changes in the make up of his top team, in an apparent bid to appear as a Prime Minister in waiting.