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HBF Briefing: PM appoints ministers to new Conservative government

Date: 11/05/15

PM appoints ministers to new Conservative government

Prime Minister, David Cameron has continued to make appointments today to his first all-Conservative Cabinet. Following the announcement on Friday that personnel in the positions of Chancellor, Home Secretary, Foreign Secretary and Defence Secretary would continue, today has seen the remaining Cabinet posts filled.

New Communities Secretary

While the media focus has been on the influx of younger MPs and women, the new Secretary of State at the Department for Communities and Local Government is a familiar face in the form of Rt Hon Greg Clark MP who replaces Rt Hon Eric Pickles MP who has left the Cabinet after serving for the whole of the last Parliament at DCLG.

Before the election Greg Clark, a keen proponent of localism, had been Minister of State for Universities, Science and Cities, a role in which he oversaw devolution deals for city regions. Clark’s first position in the Coalition Government was as Minister of State for Decentralisation and Planning, a role which saw him play a key part in the introduction of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). From 2011, this was combined with an overarching role for cities where he began the City Deals process which has seen almost 30 city regions agree bespoke deals with government for the devolution of powers and responsibilities. Again, he combined this interest with his role as Financial Secretary to the Treasury from 2012 to 2014 when he took on the job of Minister for Universities, Science and Cities.

Clark was elected to Parliament as MP for Tunbridge Wells in 2005 after serving as Director of Policy for the Conservative Party under three successive leaders; William Hague, Iain Duncan Smith and Michael Howard. In advance of the 2010 general election he had served in David Cameron’s Shadow Cabinet as Shadow Energy and Climate Change Secretary. During this period he co-authored with Jeremy Hunt, the blueprint for ‘Progressive Conservatism’, Who’s Progressive Now?

In an interview with the FT in 2011, as Planning Minister defending the ‘presumption in favour of sustainable development’, he declared that tackling the housing crisis had a ‘moral’ imperative. Mr Clark said “It is one of the great social injustices that we are failing to provide enough housing, particularly at an affordable level of rent.”

In another interview that year with the Daily Mail, Clark said that the cost of housing was ‘destroying family life’.

Communities and Local Government ministerial team

Mark Francois, MP for Rayleigh and Wickford, has been appointed as Minister of State at the Department for Communities and Local Government. It is still to be confirmed what his exact ministerial responsibilities will be but previously the Minister of State at the department had held the dual Housing and Planning brief. He had previously been a minister at the Ministry of Defence.

Other relevant ministerial posts

Sajid Javid is Business Secretary

Elizabeth Truss has been re-appointed as Environment Secretary

Amber Rudd is Energy and Climate Change Secretary

John Whittingdale is Culture Secretary

Labour Party completes mini-reshuffle

Elsewhere, the Acting Leader of the Labour Party, Harriet Harman MP has announced changes to the Shadow Cabinet following the resignation of Ed Miliband as Leader and the failure of some previous members to be re-elected to the House of Commons.

Emma Reynolds MP has been appointed as Shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, taking over from Hilary Benn MP who fills the role vacated by Douglas Alexander as Shadow Foreign Secretary.

More ministerial appointments and responsibilities are expected to be announced over the course of the evening.

David O’Leary, Deputy Director of External Affairs