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New Energy secretary Ed Davey has pledged to tackle soaring power
bills in the first few weeks of his new job.
He will set out new
plans that will allow homeowners to group together to buy cheap gas
and electricity at knock-down rates. Bills have soared over the past
The plans are based on the principles of the ‘Groupon’ website,
which features discounted gift certificates for members that can to
buy expensive products cheaply.
Mr Davey, 46, who was Consumer affairs minister in the Department
for Business, has spent the past few months developing the plans
with Chris Huhne, who quit as Energy secretary yesterday.
Mr Davey signalled the plans in his first public statement as energy
secretary on Friday, as Britain was bracing itself for sub-zero
temperatures this weekend.
Speaking from the steps of his department, he said: “I have now got
to take up the challenges, the challenge of climate change, the
challenge of energy security.
"I am particularly conscious of the impact on consumers' households
across the country of high energy bills.”
Mr Davey hinted that he was going to continue with Mr Huhne’s
controversial plans to increase the number of wind-farms across the
He said he was committed to "a green economy where there's lots of
green jobs to help growth in our economy".
He added: “I am determined to work to follow on Chris’s priorities,
the Liberal Democrats’ priorities, the Coalition government's
priorities and make them my priorities.
"I want us to have a green economy where there’s lots of green jobs
to help growth in our economy.”
Mr Davey’s promotion to the Cabinet marks the high point of a career
in politics which began just six months after he graduated from
The Liberal Democrat MP for Kingston and Surbiton has won plaudits
for handling the thorny issue of Royal Mail privatisation as a
minister in Vince Cable’s Business Department since the coalition
Government came to power.
But his involvement with the party stretches back to 1989, when he
found a job as an economic researcher shortly after graduating from
After his election as an MP in 1997, he was chief of staff to former
leader Sir Menzies Campbell and was appointed as foreign affairs
spokesman by Nick Clegg.
A member of the modernising “Orange Book” wing of the party, his
time on the frontbench he was thrown out of the Commons for a day in
2008 after clashing with deputy speaker Sir Michael Lord in a row
Between his first stint working for the Lib Dems and his election in
1997, Mr Davey worked as a management consultant, specialising in
This background meant he was ideally placed to take through the
coalition's privatisation plans for the Royal Mail.
As Postal Affairs Minister, he has enthusiastically argued the case
for selling off the Royal Mail – disclosing his plans in an
interview with The Daily Telegraph in 2010 - despite fierce
opposition from the Communication Workers Union.
The vacancy left by Mr Davey in the Department for Business was
filled by Norman Lamb, a whip and a parliamentary aide to Deputy
Prime Minister Nick Clegg.
Mr Lamb’s job was split between Jenny Willott, Lib Dem MP for
Cardiff Central, who appointed an assistant Government whip while
East Dunbartonshire MP Jo Swinson took Mr Lamb's old post as
parliamentary private secretary to Mr Clegg.
All of the jobs had to go to Lib Dems under the terms of an
agreement which set out how many Lib Dems should be in Government,
which was hammered out at the formation of the Coalition in May
The Coalition Agreement for Stability and Reform states: "The Prime
Minister, following consultation with the Deputy Prime Minister,
will make nominations for the appointment of Ministers.
"The Prime Minister will nominate Conservative Party Ministers and
the Deputy Prime Minister will nominate Liberal Democrat Ministers."