Rishi Sunak is hiring a vegan former special adviser to be his head of environmental policy as part of an effort to improve his green credentials, the Guardian can reveal.
No 10 has approached Meera Vadher to overhaul the prime minister’s image on the environment.
Sunak flip-flopped on his attendance of the Cop27 climate summit, environmental groups ridiculed his speech to delegates as “tepid”, and his government has recently become embroiled in a row over solar power on farmland.
Vadher, who is expected to start work in the new year, first entered national politics in 2011 as a parliamentary assistant to the then MP Edward Garnier, who now sits in the House of Lords. After spending time in regional politics, including working for the West Midlands mayor, Andy Street, she was given a job at the Department for Health and Social Care working on the NHS’s Covid test-and-trace system.
After that three-month stint, she began working on the Department for Transport’s green schemes, and was part of the UK’s Cop26 delegation. After just over 12 months in the role, she left to become a management consultant for Flint Global last year, where she advises clients on government policy on green transport.
In her social media biography on Instagram, Vadher says she is a vegan with a “strong desire to smash the jargon and simplify politics and current affairs”.
She has posted videos with her views on various issues, from Liz Truss’s tenure as prime minister to whether Scotland should have a second independence referendum and energy price rises.
In one video, she said: “We are relying even more on our renewable sources, which are expensive.” Carbon Brief analysis, however, has found that wind energy is nine times cheaper than gas.
During the Tory leadership contest over the summer, she did not explicitly back a candidate, but posted a photograph of herself arm-in-arm with Sunak.
She said: “I’ve had the pleasure of working with Rishi and he’s always nice, always attentive, always into the detail. Seeing him over the past few weeks on a marathon of the country, never flailing, never stressful, always listening, has reminded me what it means to be really good at your job.”
No 10 is understood to be already setting up meetings between Vadher and key players from the Boris Johnson era, which had a relatively good reputation on some environmental issues.
According to a description of her role seen by the Guardian, Downing Street hopes she will make Sunak sound more authentic on environmental issues and help green policy issues cut through using social media and better messaging.
A No 10 spokesperson said they did not comment on individual appointments. Vadher said she has not yet signed a contract and was still employed at Flint Global.