Amber Rudd joins public-policy institute

Former energy secretary will lead on work around decarbonisation and COP26
Amber Rudd as energy secretary. Photo: John Stillwell/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Former cabinet minister Amber Rudd has joined a public-policy institute where she will be leading work to identify innovative policy ideas on decarbonisation.

Rudd, who was energy secretary, home secretary and work and pensions secretary before leaving government in late 2019, is now co-chair for energy and climate at Public Policy Projects, a London-based subscription based public policy institute.

She has joined several MPs and former ministers at the organisation, which is led by former Conservative MP and ex-health secretary Stephen Dorrell.

In her new role, Rudd will chair a project to produce a report on maximising the impact of the upcoming climate summit COP26. She will host events and roundtables and provide strategic policy advice to PPP on “appropriate avenues of enquiry for the report to investigate”, the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments said in a letter approving the appointment.

The project aims to “identify the challenges and opportunities in decarbonisation”, according to PPP’s website.

“Focusing on key aspects of the climate debate, including maritime and food sustainability, energy and power generation and the role of 5G and technology, this project contextualises discussions on decarbonisation in the perspectives of individual nations, many of whom remain fossil fuel reliant,” it says.

“Amber and PPP will explore the global challenges of decarbonisation from the perspective of the nations for whom the debate is most significant.”

The institute’s purpose is “to create an international forum bringing together governments, diplomats and the private sector in order to exchange policy ideas and thought leadership”, the Acoba letter said.

It added that Rudd had described the organisation as “independent and cross-party”.

Her new coworkers include Stephen Hammond, a Conservative MP and former health and transport minister, who heads up PPP’s work on infrastructure policy; Baroness Nicola Blackwood, a Conservative peer and former life-sciences minister; and Claire Perry O'Neill, a former Conservative MP and energy minister.

From outside politics, PPP’s policy board also includes former Medical Research Council chair and Genomics England executive chair Sir John Chisolm; Harpreet Sood, NHS England's associate chief clinical information officer; and Prof Mike Bewick, deputy medical director at NHS England.

Government officials and ministers will be invited to participate in events around the project, including speaking at roundtables and the report’s launch. However, Rudd has said she will not be directly involved in organising the events.

The Department for Work and Pensions – the government department where Rudd last worked – raised no objections and said she would not have had access to any sensitive information that would offer an “unfair advantage” to PPP.

The committee said that while it considered her DWP tenure would have given her access to privileged information that “could be seen to give an unfair advantage to any organisation”, it “gave weight to DWP’s comments” that it had no concerns.

It also noted that 16 months have now passed since Rudd was work and pensions secretary, and that the standard Acoba rules prevent her from drawing on privileged information anyway.

The letter drew particular attention to another of the Acoba rules, banning former ministers from lobbying the government for two years after their departure.

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