CLAIRE Coutinho has been named as the UK’s new Energy and Net Zero Secretary.

It comes after Grant Shapps left the role in order to replace Ben Wallace as Defence Secretary.

Coutinho has served as the MP for East Surrey since 2019 where she won almost 60% of the vote.

Prior to her career in politics, she worked in investment banking and as a special adviser to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in the Treasury.

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Her arrival comes amid accusations that Sunak and his ministers are rowing back on environmental commitments and net-zero aims, with critics hitting out at plans to grant new licences for oil and gas extraction in the North Sea.

It remans to be seen if her arrival brings any great change in policymaking.

She recently made clear her objection to the expansion of the Ultra-Low Emission Zone in London, joining other Tory MPs in calling it a policy “clearly rejected by the people” during this summer’s Uxbridge by-election, and labelling it a “tax on those who can least afford it”.

Coutinho has long been a familiar face in the Conservative circles.

The daughter of doctors from India, she started her career at the Merrill Lynch investment bank before leaving the City and joining former party leader Iain Duncan Smith’s Centre for Social Justice.

Her new role as Energy Secretary is likely to be her biggest test yet.