Election 2017  

Ex-housing minister is new chief of staff

Ex-housing minister is new chief of staff

Conservative Gavin Barwell, the former housing minister who lost his seat in Thursday's (8 June) general election, has become Prime Minister Theresa May's chief of staff.

Just one day after the Croydon Central MP lost his seat to Labour's Sarah Jones, it was announced he was taking over as Ms May's chief of staff.

Former chiefs of staff Nick Timothy and Fiona Hill, the previous advisers to the prime minister, resigned after public calls for them to be sacked for their advice to Ms May.

Mr Timothy has claimed he was responsible for the Conservative's manifesto.

Mr Barwell had been housing minister for just less than a year, and was the sixth person to hold the role since the coalition government of 2010.

Critics in the mortgage and house-building industry have warned of a lack of joined-up policy on what is being called a housing crisis, with fewer homes being built each year than demand dictates.

As early as October 2016, senior figures were calling on government to make housing a priority.

At the time Peter Williams, executive director of the Intermediary Mortgage Lenders Association (Imla), said the majority of the association's members believe the government's "housing minister merry-go-round" has contributed to a lack of cohesive housing policy.

He said: "The government’s lack of clear, structured housing policy has been an elephant in the room for some time now.

"Successive administrations have made pledges and promises to change this, but it’s never been fully followed through with any real comprehensive long-term policy."

Mr Barwell's successor as housing minister is not yet known but an announcement is expected imminently.