Member Briefing: Government reshuffle brings new housing minister and new department name

Tue 09 January, 2018

Government reshuffle brings new housing minister and new department name

The Prime Minister has conducted a reshuffle of her cabinet and ministerial team which has affected the Government’s housing portfolio. Sajid Javid remains in charge of the overall portfolio although his title has been broadened to the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities & Local Government reflecting the priority given to housing by the PM and a change of name for the Department for Communities and Local Government. DCLG, formed in 2006 out of the old Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, has been renamed the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG). 

Further changes have been announced today regarding the role of Minister of State for Housing, with Alok Sharma, who has held the position since June 2017 being switched to the Department for Work and Pensions as he takes up a new role as Minister of State for Employment. Mr Sharma’s replacement as Housing and Planning Minister at the newly branded MHCLG, is Dominic Raab, MP for Esher and Walton. He previously held the role of Minister of State for Courts and Justice. 

Dominic Raab is a former international lawyer who, after working for a law firm in the City, joined the Foreign & Commonwealth Office. There he advised on a wide range of briefs, including UK investor protection, counter-proliferation and counter-terrorism and UK overseas territories. After leaving the Foreign & Commonwealth Office in 2006, he worked for three years as Chief of Staff to Shadow Home and Justice Secretaries, advising the Conservative frontbench on crime, policing, immigration, counter-terrorism, human rights and constitutional reform. He was elected as the MP for Esher and Walton in 2010 with a majority of 18,593. He increased this majority to almost 30,000 at the 2015 general election before achieving a majority of 23,298 in 2017. 

Raab served the Joint Committee on Human Rights and Education Select Committee between 2010 and 2015 and in 2016 was elected by MPs to sit on Parliament’s Committee on Exiting the EU, which scrutinises the government’s approach to Brexit. 

In terms of housing and planning interests, Raab has previously led a campaign to protect the Green Belt in and around Elmbridge. His website states that he has “campaigned consistently to maintain effective greenbelt protections, which was confirmed as national policy by the government in its 2017 White Paper”. In 2011 he also called for allowing the local community to determine the balance of development as well as streamlining the bureaucracy of the planning process for the benefit of councils. 

Elsewhere, Greg Clark will remain as Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy while Marcus Jones has been announced as the new Conservative Party Vice Chair for Local Government, vacating his role as Minister for Local Government within MHCLG. A new Local Government Minister has not been announced at the time of writing. Further, previous Housing Minister, and more recently Immigration Minister Brandon Lewis, has been appointed as Conservative Party Chairman, being replaced by Caroline Nokes in the immigration brief at the Home Office. Following the resignation of Justine Greening as Education Secretary, Damian Hinds is the new Secretary of State in the department responsible for skills.