PropertyFeb 7 2023

Fifth housing minister in a year exits following cabinet reshuffle

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Fifth housing minister in a year exits following cabinet reshuffle
Chris McAndrew/UK ParliamentLucy Frazer, former housing minister, has been appointed culture secretary

The UK has just lost its fifth housing minister in the space of 12 months following prime minister Rishi Sunak’s cabinet reshuffle. 

Lucy Frazer has been announced as secretary of state for culture, media and sport leaving the role of housing minister unfilled.

The prime minister today (February 7) announced a reshuffle of his cabinet following the sacking of Conservative party chairperson Nadhim Zahawi last month.

Sunak removed Zahawi after his ethics adviser found he committed “serious breaches” of the ministerial code by failing to be transparent about his tax affairs.

Investigations are also ongoing into allegations of bullying by deputy prime minister Dominic Raab, however Raab has remained in his post as secretary of state for justice.

Sunak has announced the creation of four new departments having broken up the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS):

  • Department for Energy Security and Net Zero
  • Department for Science, Innovation and Technology
  • Department for Business and Trade
  • Department for Culture, Media and Sport

Downing Street said in a statement the changes will "ensure the right skills and teams are focused on the prime minister’s five promises: to halve inflation, grow the economy, reduce debt, cut waiting lists and stop the boats".

While Lucy Frazer takes up the helm as secretary of state at the newly created Department for Culture, Media and Sport, a replacement for housing minister has not yet been announced by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.

Frazer’s replacement will be the sixth housing minister in one year and the 22nd housing minister since 2000.

Tweeting about the reshuffle, shadow minister for housing and planning, Matthew Pennycook said: “Because what the country clearly needs is its 15th housing and planning minister since the Tories took office in 2010…”

Other changes

Grant Shapps, who was secretary of state for BEIS, has been appointed secretary of state for energy security and net zero.

The newly created department will be responsible for securing long-term energy supply, bringing down bills and halving inflation according to the government.

Michelle Donelan is now secretary of state for science, innovation and technology, leaving her post as secretary of state for digital culture, media and sport.

Kemi Badenoch, who has been international trade secretary since September has been appointed secretary of state for business and trade. She remains as president of the Board of Trade and minister for women and equalities. 

Meanwhile, Greg Hands, MP for Chelsea and Fulham, has been announced as chairperson of the Conservative party and has been appointed as minister without portfolio in the cabinet office.

In a move that has surprised commentators, it was also announced this afternoon that former labour MP, Lee Anderson has been appointed deputy chairperson of the Conservative party.