The move is part of Theresa May’s Cabinet reshuffle, which follows the snap general election held last week (8 June), which resulted a hung parliament. The Conservative Party gained 42.45% of the vote, while the Labour Party gained 40%, a surge of almost 10%.
The result means the Conservative Party will likely form an unofficial alliance with the Democratic Unionist Party to make up a majority.
The consequent reshuffle of Cabinet has seen the Rt Hon Michael Gove MP replace Andrea Leadsom MP as the Environment Secretary, with Resources Minister Thérèse Coffey remaining in her post, which includes responsibilities for “resource and environment management”.
Mr Gove (pictured above), a former journalist, was Shadow Minister for Housing from 2005 to 2007 and Shadow Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families from 2007 to 2010. He was appointed Secretary of State for Education in May 2010.
From July 2014 to May 2015, he served as Government Chief Whip and Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury.
Gove also served as Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice from May 2015 until 14 July 2016. From July 2014 to May 2015, he served as Government Chief Whip and Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and as Secretary of State for Education from May 2010 until July 2014.
South Northamptonshire MP Andrea Leadsom has been made Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons.
The appointment of Mr Gove has been somewhat of a surprise due to his “questionable” position with regard to climate change. In 2013, as Secretary of State for Education, Mr Gove planned to remove climate change from the geography syllabus only to abandon plans after Ed Davey, the then energy and climate change secretary, fought for the topic’s retention.
Mr Gove also voted against requiring the setting of a target range for the amount of carbon dioxide (or other greenhouse gases) produced per unit of electricity generated in 2013, and voted against allowing carbon dioxide emissions limits to be set in respect of existing stations which fit pollution abatement equipment (TheyWorkForYou.com).
Reactions to the appointment include one Twitter user stating: “Man with such U turn ability may lead the nation into a habit of recycling”, while another called his voting record on climate change “questionable”.
— Defra UK (@DefraGovUK) June 11, 2017
Man with such U turn ability may lead the nation into a habit of recycle
— Phil Wu (@philyuewu) June 12, 2017
— Ian Harwood (@IanAHarwood) June 12, 2017