Labour’s low-profile shadow housing minister, Roberta Blackman-Woods, has come out for Yvette Cooper - herself a former housing minister - in Labour’s leadership race.
Cooper became housing minister after Gordon Brown succeeded Tony Blair as Labour prime minister in 2007, at a time when the housing minister’s role entitled her to attend Cabinet although not be a formal member.
She inherited work which was already well underway on the creation of the Home Information Packs, which was fiercely opposed by most of the estate agency industry.
Under Part 5 of the House Act of 2004, HIPS became mandatory throughout England and Wales on four bedroom houses and larger properties from August 2007; later that year they were extended ‘down’ to include three bedroom houses.
Blackman-Woods - who backed Ed Miliband during the party’s 2010 leadership campaign - was appointed as shadow housing minister last month, having previously held a shadow planning role during the period of the coalition government.
Cooper is one of four candidates fighting it out to be party leader: the others are Andy Burnham, widely regarded as the favourite amongst MPs, party activists and trade unionists, plus shadow health minister Liz Kendall and veteran left winger Jeremy Corbyn.
The winner will be decided by a one-member one-vote system and the result will be announced at a special conference on September 12.
Tomorrow nominations close for the party’s new deputy leader, taking over from Harriet Harman. One MP hoping to win enough nominations for this role is Stella Creasy, a long-time critic of estate agents and letting agents.