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HBF Briefing - Government and Opposition parties shuffle their packs

Date: 08/10/13

Government and Opposition parties shuffle their packs

All three main political parties have announced a shake-up of their frontbench teams.

For the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats, the focus was primarily on middle-ranking and junior ministerial posts in a reshuffle that has seen the Prime Minister replace Mark Prisk as Housing Minister.

Former Leader of Bradford City Council, Kris Hopkins MP, takes on Prisk’s brief as Housing Minister. Meanwhile, following a promotion for Don Foster MP to Liberal Democrat Chief Whip, Stephen Williams MP will assume responsibility for building regulations and energy efficiency at the Department for Communities.

Nick Boles stays in his post as Minister for Planning.

Leader of the Opposition, Ed Miliband announced a wider-ranging overhaul of his shadow cabinet with new faces on work and pensions, transport, education, foreign affairs, defence and international development.

Whilst Hilary Benn remains Shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Jack Dromey has been replaced as Shadow Minister for Housing by Emma Reynolds MP who will attend Shadow Cabinet.

Away from the specifically housing briefs, Conservative MP for Bromsgrove, Sajid Javid has been appointed Financial Secretary to the Treasury where he will have responsibility for bank lending and access to finance and George Eustice replaces Richard Benyon at DEFRA with responsibility for biodiversity, water and the natural environment.

A full list of ministerial appointments can be found HERE

The revamped Shadow Cabinet can be found HERE

Summary of key appointments

New Housing Minister

The Prime Minister has appointed Kris Hopkins, MP for Keighley, as Housing Minister. Hopkins takes over as Parliamentary under-Secretary at DCLG, replacing previous Minister of State, Mark Prisk MP.

Prisk broke the news of his departure on Twitter, announcing that he was disappointed that he had ‘been asked to step aside from Housing for a younger generation.’ Prisk had been Housing and Local Growth Minister for just over a year.

Hopkins joins Secretary of State, Eric Pickles at DCLG. Both are former Leaders of Bradford City Council.

Foster replaced by Stephen Williams at DCLG

Stephen Williams, Liberal Democrat MP for Bristol West becomes the lone Liberal Democrat at the DCLG, replacing Don Foster and will lead on building regulations and zero carbon.

Williams has written about his support for increasing energy efficiency standards for new housing. He says on his website, ‘I want to see a set of housing standards that are both easily understood and fit for purpose.’

The morning after his promotion, Williams tweeted ‘Reading up on building regulations. From Great Fire of London to 21st century zero carbon homes!’

Don Foster MP had vacated the role at Communities and Local Government for a promotion to Liberal Democrat Chief Whip. He had spent a year as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at DCLG where he had responsibility for building regulations, localism, climate change and some aspects of housing policy more generally. He was a particular advocate of introducing a new space standard as part of the housing standards review.

Emma Reynolds succeeds Jack Dromey as Shadow Housing Minister

Emma Reynolds, MP for Wolverhampton North, has been appointed by Ed Miliband as Shadow Minister for Housing. Reynolds was elected in 2010 and previously served on the Labour frontbench in her role as Shadow Minister for Europe.

Jack Dromey MP had been Shadow Housing Minister since October 2011. He now takes on a brief within the Shadow Home Affairs team.

Sajid Javid joins Treasury team

Sajid Javid MP has moved to the Treasury where he assumes the role of Financial Secretary to the Treasury. Included in his brief is banking, bank lending and access to finance.

Javid was elected in 2010 as the Conservative MP for Bromsgrove.

Eustice new minister for water and biodiversity

George Eustice, Conservative MP for Camborne and Redruth, is the new Parliamentary under Secretary of State at the DEFRA, and will lead on the natural environment and biodiversity, fisheries, water and flooding, land management and areas of outstanding natural beauty. Eustice has been an MP since 2010 and possesses a majority of just 66 votes in his constituency of Camborne and Redruth.

He takes succeeds Richard Benyon MP who had been at DEFRA since 2010. 

Key appointments: biographies


Kris Hopkins MP is the new Parliamentary under-Secretary of State for Housing at the Department for Communities and Local Government.

Hopkins won the seat of Keighley at the 2010 General Election, the first Conservative MP for the area since 1997. In Parliament he has been a member of the Select Committee on Northern Ireland, a Parliamentary Private Secretary to a Defence Minister and an active member of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Housing in the North.

A former soldier and a Bradford councillor for twelve years, he contested the Labour stronghold of Leeds West in 2001 and the slightly more marginal Halifax in 2005. But in Keighley, his party’s 100th target seat, he achieved a swing of more than 8 per cent to take the seat after the retirement of the Labour MP Ann Cryer.

During his time on Bradford Council, Hopkins rose through the ranks including a spell as Housing Portfolio holder and Deputy Leader before becoming Leader of the Council in 2006. He also had spells as Chairman of the Yorkshire and Humber Housing and Regeneration Board and the Bradford Local Strategic Partnership.

Stephen Williams MP has been appointed Parliamentary under-Secretary of State at the Department for Communities and Local Government.

Williams has represented Bristol West since 2005 when he took the seat from the Labour incumbent with a swing of 8.4%. He was returned to Parliament in 2010 with 48% of the votes and a much increased majority. In his parliamentary career to date he has been Liberal Democrat spokesman on Public Health, Higher and Further Education, Schools and, in the two and a half years prior to the 2010 Election, as Lead Spokesman on Innovation, Universities and Skills.

A tax consultant by trade, before winning a seat in Westminster, Williams was a county councillor in Avon (1993-96) and a City Councillor in Bristol (1995-99) where he served as Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group.

Williams grew up in Wales and begun his association with the city of Bristol after attending the University of Bristol. He lists his policy interests as ‘Taxation, education, preventative health care, transport, civil rights, the arts and Europe’. Williams is a member of WWF, Amnesty International, the National Trust, Friends of the Earth and Stonewall.


Emma Reynolds MP has been appointed by the Leader of the Opposition as Shadow Minister for Housing and will attend Shadow Cabinet meetings.

Reynolds won the seat of Wolverhampton North East in 2010 despite a 9% swing to the Conservatives. In October 2011, she was appointed Shadow Minister for Europe.

After studying Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Oxford University, she helped to set up a consultancy advising British companies on the impact of European Union legislation and influencing policy makers before going on to work for the Party of European Socialists group in Brussels. She was later appointed as political advisor to Geoff Hoon in his roles as Europe Minister and latterly Chief Whip.

David O'Leary, Deputy Director of External Affairs