Cabinet reshuffle: Greg Hands replaces Zahawi as Conservative Party chairman as Sunak’s first reshuffle begins, Sky News understands | Politics News
Greg Hands has replaced Nadhim Zahawi as Conservative Party chairman as Rishi Sunak begins the first reshuffle of his cabinet, Sky News understands.
Mr Hands, MP for Chelsea and Fulham, takes over the role that will involve leading the Tories through the next election, which they are currently set to lose to Labour.
His appointment comes just over a week after former chair Mr Zahawi was sacked over the handling of his tax affairs.
Sky News also understands business, energy and industrial strategy secretary Grant Shapps will be made energy security secretary in a newly created department dedicated to energy.
And former Tory leadership contender Kemi Badenoch is to be moved from international trade secretary to business and trade secretary, taking over part of the job Mr Shapps leaves vacant and maintaining her previous role.
Culture Secretary Michelle Donelan is understood to be moving to what Sky News believes will be the new Department of Science, Innovation and Technology.
Who is Greg Hands?
Mr Hands is well-liked by fellow Tories and has been an MP since 2005, first in Hammersmith and Fulham, then Chelsea and Fulham since its creation in 2010.
Seen as a steady pair of hands, he has remained as a minister for the most part of the past eight years after first serving in David Cameron’s cabinet as chief secretary to the Treasury.
A staunch remainer, he was demoted by Theresa May to a junior minister at the Department for International Trade then was also made Minister for London.
He resigned in 2018 over his opposition to Heathrow’s third runway but Boris Johnson returned him to trade policy minister before promoting him to business, energy and clean growth minister.
Liz Truss made him trade policy minister days before she stepped down and Mr Sunak kept him on.
The New York and UK state-school educated politician joined the Conservative Party as a student at Cambridge before spending eight years as a banker in London and New York.
A polyglot who speaks five European languages, Mr Hands’ gained his campaigning experience fairly early on in his political career when he had to fight for the newly formed Chelsea and Fulham seat after his constituency was split in two.
As a Tory councillor in Hammersmith and Fulham before becoming an MP, he built up a formidable reputation as a local campaigner, with an impressive knowledge for knowing local people’s names and issues they stood for, Conservative Home reported in 2014.
As party chairman, he will be in charge of helping the Tories fight the next election, which at the moment they are predicted to lose to Labour.
He also served as a whip then deputy chief whip under Mr Cameron so has experience in coordinating his fellow MPs – an essential to fight the next election.