This just has to beg the serious question of - WHY ?
David Cameron has personally overruled the appointment of David Kennedy, chief executive of the Committee on Climate Change (CCC), as the new permanent secretary of the Department of Energy and Climate Change(DECC), forcing the department to re-run the appointment process.
The Financial Times reported this morning
that the prime minister has taken the highly unusual step of blocking the appointment, despite the fact energy and climate change secretary Ed Davey had supported the decision.
Citing sources familiar with the matter, the paper said Kennedy had been deemed the best man for the job in what was regarded as the "strongest field for many years for a permanent secretary position".
, an economist by training who has previously worked for the World Bank and is regarded as an expert in energy and climate change economics, has headed up the CCC for four years and has been involved in the development of a series of reports calling on the Govt to deliver a "step change" in its decarbonisation efforts.
The role was originally advertised after previous permanent secretary Moira Wallace stepped down in July.
The decision will inevitably fuel accusations the prime minister is seeking to rein in DECC's green programmes in a sop to the right wing of his party.
Writing on Twitter in response to the news, Friends of the Earth's David Powell
suggested the reason Kennedy was rejected was because "he thinks it's cheapest to bloody well get on with rapid decarbonisation".
It also risks further stoking tensions between the Lib Dems and the Tories over energy and climate change policy just a day after the publication of an Energy Bill that Davey was keen to position as a "grand bargain" between the two parties that enjoys cross-government support.
Number 10 refused to be drawn
on the reasons behind the failure to appoint Kennedy. A Downing Street spokesman said: "As minister for the civil service, the Prime Minister oversees senior civil service appointments. A new permanent secretary at DECC will be announced in due course."
Labour's Shadow Climate Change Minister Luciana Berger
questioned why a candidate with Kennedy's record had been blocked from the job in defiance of a highly respected interview panel.
"David Kennedy has been an outstanding chief executive of the Committee on Climate Change for the past four years," she said. "It would be completely wrong if David Cameron has been meddling with the civil service appointment process just to block someone who disagrees with his Government's failure to commit to decarbonise the power sector by 2030."
Hopefully the rumour is true that a number of parliamentary questions could now be tabled to try and ascertain why the Prime Minister took the unusual step of blackballing Kennedy.