Greg Clark returns to communities’ department

The prime minister this morning appointed Greg Clark as secretary of state for levelling up, housing and communities.

New communities secretary, Greg Clark

Mr Clark replaces Michael Gove, who was sacked last night (6 July 2022) after he urged Boris Johnson to resign.

INews reported that Mr Clark accepted the job in the interim government in the interests of stability.

The levelling up secretary has the power to rule on planning applications and appeals.

Last month, the department refused permission for two shale gas schemes but approved UKOG plans for gas exploration in Surrey.

Mr Gove had been expected to announce his decision today on the Cumbrian coalmine – the first to be dug for 30 years. This followed a public inquiry in 2021. A statement yesterday said ministers were not in a position to publish a decision and the date was not a legally-binding, just a target.

A new date for a decision, now to be taken by Mr Clark, has yet to be announced.

Mr Clark, the MP for Tunbridge Wells, was previously appointed communities and local government in 2015 and secretary of state for business, energy and industrial strategy in 2016.

In 2018, as business secretary, he delayed a decision on Third Energy’s fracking plans at Kirby Misperton until the company filed its overdue accounts. He also added two further financial checks before the decision. Third Energy never carried out the frack and has now been taken over by the Wolfland Group, a renewable energy company.

The business secretary, Kwasi Kwarteng, is still in post. This morning he tweeted a new leader was needed as soon as possible.

One of Mr Kwarteng’s junior ministers, the North East Derbyshire MP, Lee Rowley, resigned yesterday. At the time of writing, his post has not yet been filled and the Beis website still listed him as a minister.

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