Followng the sacking of Esther McVey this morning, it has been confirmed that the new housing minister is Chris Pincher, until today a Foreign Office minister.
Pincher appears to have been unaware of his impending move to housing, or at least feigned ignorance, tweeting until the last moment his meeting with the Slovenian ambassador. Pincher has enjoyed a stellar career spent entirely at the Foreign Office and worked closely to Phillip Hammond when he was foreign secretary.
His housing credentials are thin but his parliamentary voting record shows he was against the tenant fees ban and in favour of reducing taxes on property transactions.
McVey said on parting: “I wish my successor the very best and every success…I’m very grateful to the Prime Minster for having given me the opportunity to serve in his government and he will continue to have my support from the back benches,” she said.
Her boss, Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick and Boris Johnson loyalist, has been confirmed as remaining in his role.
McVey’s exit from the Ministry of Housing had been rumoured in recent days after she clashed with Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick over the different directions they believed government policy on housing should take. Her tenure last just over six months.
Pincher is the 19th housing minister in 21 years – an extraordinary revolving door given the importance attached to the housing crisis by recent Conservative governments.
“A new parliament, a new housing minister. One has to think whether this cabinet position holds any real relevance anymore – it has become something of a merry-go-round,” says Paresh Raja (left), CEO of bridging loans firm Market Financial Solutions.
“Given the challenges facing the UK property market, the lack of consistent leadership from the Government in this space is extremely frustrating.
“We will never be in a position to properly address issues like the housing crisis, not to mention the obstacles preventing people from jumping on and moving up the property ladder, until Westminster gives the position of housing minister more respect and consideration.”
John Phillips (left), national operations director at broker Just Mortgages, says: “Housing policy requires a clear sense of direction, and that has been sadly lacking in recent years as the ministerial revolving door has spun at a furious pace.
“Now that there is a government with a stable majority, I hope the new housing minister stays in place long enough to take on some of the long-term issues that have held the housing market back. It’s been easy to blame Brexit uncertainty over the last few years but the problems are more deep-seated than that.”
Watch this space for more reshuffle updates as they happen.