Concern expressed over Michael Gove's cabinet return
Michael Gove has returned to the cabinet as secretary of state for the environment in prime minister Theresa May's post-election cabinet reshuffle, but his appointment has caused concern among green campaigners worried about his climate change scepticism.
Mr Gove was a key campaigner in favour of Brexit who ran against Mrs May for the Conservative leadership last year and was removed from the cabinet by her when she moved into Number 10, but is now back as she announced her new frontbench team.
Speaking about Mr Gove's views of environmental issues, Green Party MP and jointleader Caroline Lucas said: "His record of voting against measures to halt climate change and his attempt to wipe the subject from our children’s curriculum show him [to be] entirely unfit to lead our country in tackling one of the greatest threats we face."
Greenpeace chief executive Jon Sauven was also sceptical about the appointment, and said Mr Gove will need to show "he is better than his record suggests".
If the worst fears about Mr Gove are justified, it might mean less enthusiasm on his part for measures such as fitting extra insulation in homes as a means of combating global warming, although that will be just as much the remit of other ministers, such as communities secretary Sajid Javid.
The environmental policy of the government may also come under scrutiny due to the fact that the Democratic Unionist Party MPs on whose votes the Conservatives will have to rely to remain in office have been associated with sceptical views about climate change.
Before the election, the chief executive of the Federation of Master Builders Brian Berry said the Green Party's plans to insulate nine million homes were the best policy any party had offered on home energy efficiency and he said whoever was in government after the election should adopt their programme.
He remarked that a "serious programme of investment to retrofit existing properties" is "sorely needed" and the Greens had taken this on board.