Claire Coutinho

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Person.png Claire Coutinho  Rdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
Claire Coutinho.jpeg
Born8 July 1985
Alma materOxford University/Exeter College

Employment.png Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero

In office
31 August 2023 - Present
Appointed byRishi Sunak

Employment.png Member of Parliament for East Surrey

In office
12 December 2019 - Present

Claire Coryl Julia Coutinho is a British politician who has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for East Surrey since the UK/2019 General Election. Rishi Sunak appointed her Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero on 31 August 2023.[1]

Claire Countinho was previously Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Children, Families and Wellbeing from October 2022 to 31 August 2023 and Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Disabled People from September to October 2022. She is a member of the Conservative Party.

Political background

Before entering the Commons for the safe seat of East Surrey, Coutinho, 38, was a special adviser to Rishi Sunak, who at the time was Chief Secretary to the Treasury.[2]

When Sunak became Chancellor in 2020 they effectively continued the partnership, with Ms Coutinho serving as his parliamentary aide.

She was a leading behind-the-scenes figure in Rishi Sunak's leadership campaigns last summer, and is widely seen to have performed impressively as a minister at a time when childcare has rocketed up the political agenda.


Like the prime minister, Claire Coutinho is the daughter of immigrants. Her parents came from India to the UK in the 1970s where they worked as doctors.

Ms Coutinho herself was born in London in 1985 and attended the fee-paying James Allen's Girls' School (JAGS) in East Dulwich.

She went on to study maths and philosophy at Exeter College, Oxford University.


After leaving university she worked for investment bank Merrill Lynch, influential right-leaning think tank the Centre for Social Justice and the Housing and Finance Institute, a not-for-profit organisation which aimed to help improve house building.

In 2012, she also set up the Novel Diner - an events catering company which hosted dinners based on books including the "Great Gatsby", "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory", "American Psycho" and the "Bell Jar". The Novel Diner, which she ran with food writer Ximena Holland, dissolved in 2015.[3]

Claire Coutinho also appeared as a contestant in Channel 4's "The Taste", a cooking reality show in which Nigella Lawson and Anthony Bourdain judged the participant's dishes.

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