Brandon Lewis (left) will remain Housing Minister despite reports he had been replaced.
At the start of last week, it was thought that Mark Francois, MP for Rayleigh and Wickford since 2001, had been appointed the new Housing and Planning Minister, in the Communities department, following the appointment of Greg Clark as Communities Secretary.
Following 24 hours of confusion, the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) confirmed that Mr Lewis, who is widely thought to have impressed during his brief tenure as Housing Minister in the run-up to this month’s General Election, would in fact retain ministerial responsibility for planning and housing in a reshuffle that has seen various new MPs arrive at the DCLG.
A DCLG spokeswoman, said, “I can confirm that Brandon Lewis will remain Housing Minister.”
Mr Lewis, who retained his seat in Great Yarmouth by a majority of 43 per cent, outstripping the Labour and UK Independence Party (UKIP) vote, will report to new Communities and Local Government Secretary Greg Clark (right), who replaced Eric Pickles in the Government reshuffle, while Mark Francois has actually been appointed as a Minister of State at the DCLG.
The role of Minister of State for Housing and Planning has changed far too frequently in recent years, so it is hoped that a long term vision may now be adopted for the post, rather than it be viewed as a stop gap to a more powerful position.
“It’s good to see continuity with the brief but this post should be escalated to a cabinet position given its critical role in the Election,” said Robert Sinclair, Chief Executive of The Association of Mortgage Intermediaries.
Meanwhile, Emma Reynolds (left), previously Shadow Minister for Housing has been promoted to Shadow Secretary of State for Communities, as part of the Labour Party’s reshuffle.