• Wednesday, July 24, 2024

News

Alok Sharma made peer in House of Lords

The Agra-born former minister now becomes Lord Sharma

Alok Sharma. (Photo by Rob Kim/Getty Images for Global Citizen)

By: Pramod Thomas

BRITISH INDIAN former Tory MP Alok Sharma, who had chosen not to seek re-election in this week’s general election, will now take his seat in the House of Lords after being conferred a peerage by King Charles.

The 56-year-old Agra-born former minister now becomes Lord Sharma. He was knighted as Sir Alok in the King’s New Year’s Honours list last year for his contribution to tackling climate change through his leadership as president of the COP26 climate summit two years ago.

Sharma was among seven nominations made by outgoing prime minister Rishi Sunak for his customary “Dissolution Peerages,” which also saw former prime minister Theresa May become a peer in the Upper House of the UK Parliament.

“Humbled to have been appointed to the House of Lords but so sorry to see many fine Conservative candidates lose, including in Reading West & Mid Berkshire,” said Sharma in a post on X, as his party’s disastrous general election results became evident.

His former constituency was won by Labour’s Olivia Bailey, who Sharma described as a “decent person who I feel will serve the area diligently.”

Sharma’s Reading West constituency, like several others across the UK, had undergone a boundary change to become Reading West & Mid Berkshire.

“This has not been an easy decision for me. It has been the honour of my life to serve as the MP for a constituency in the town where I grew up and a privilege to serve in government and represent the UK on the international stage,” Sharma said, when he announced his decision in September last year to not contest the next general election.

“I will continue to support my Tory colleagues and serve my constituents diligently for the remainder of my time as an MP, as well as champion in Parliament the causes I care deeply about, especially climate action,” he added.

Sharma was selected as a parliamentary candidate in 2006 and has served as a Tory MP since 2010. In his role as Cabinet minister since then, he has been appointed secretary of state for business, energy and industrial strategy and international development until he was conferred a Cabinet-level role as COP26 president by former prime minister Boris Johnson in January 2021.

Under Rishi Sunak as prime minister, he was on the House of Commons back benches and often spoke out to express his concerns about the government’s delay in certain targets towards meeting the country’s climate action Net Zero pledge by 2050.

“Chopping and changing policies creates uncertainty for businesses and the public. Ultimately this makes it more difficult to attract investment and pushes up costs for consumers,” he said.

Sharma was among a series of high-profile Tory colleagues, including former defence secretary Ben Wallace, who had decided not to seek re-election in the 2024 polls.

(PTI)

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