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Ex-housing minister appointed chief of staff as industry awaits replacement

Former housing minister Gavin Barwell has been appointed as Theresa May's chief of staff.

Barwell lost his Croydon Central seat – and role as housing minister – at last Thursday's General Election.

There has yet to be an announcement on a new housing minister, who will be the sixth politician to take the role since the Conservatives took power in 2010.

With no housing minister announced in yesterday's reshuffle, it seems that the position of housing minister has again not been given cabinet status.

On Friday, industry veteran Harry Hill – the Rightmove founder who recently joined lettings start-up Lavanda – took to Twitter to suggest that Hunters co-founder and MP for Thirsk and Malton Kevin Hollinrake should be the next housing minister.

"About time we had someone with industry knowledge," he said.

Barwell replaced Brandon Lewis in the role last July after Theresa May became leader of the Conservatives.

The former MP's most notable contribution as housing minister was overseeing the publication of the housing white paper in February.

The 106-page document set out the government's plans to 'fix the broken housing market' and made 29 key proposals.

It is expected that whoever succeeds Barwell will look to follow the blueprint set out in the white paper and confirmed in the Spring Budget.

Elsewhere, Philip Hammond is staying on as Chancellor of the Exchequer, Boris Johnson remains as Foreign Secretary and David Davis keeps his role as Brexit Secretary.

In his new role, Barwell will bea senior aide to Theresa May in what is described as a ‘powerful’ position in the government.

Barwell replaces Nick Timothy and Fiona Hill, who served as joint chiefs of staff and resigned following May’s unsuccessful attempt at securing a larger majority. 

May described Barwell as a 'widely respected' and 'first class' minister.

“He will bring considerable experience of the party to the post. As I said yesterday, I want to reflect on the election and why it did not deliver the result I hoped for. Gavin will have an important role to play in that. I look forward to working with him,” said the Prime Minister in a statement.

You can see a selection of estate and letting agents' reactions to last week's surprise election result here.

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    It really would make sense for Hollinrake to be the next HM...

  • Rob  Davies

    Lose your seat, get a promotion. How does that work?

    Who's going to be the 16th Housing Minister in 20 years, I wonder? How many have we had since 2010? 7? I thought the Tories were supposed to be taking housing seriously. Like everything else they say, though, it's all hot air and bluster. It's what lost them the election - saying nothing and taking the electorate for granted. Now we have a coalition of chaos and a situation where the opposition look far more united, competent and ready to govern than Team Maybot and her reshuffled Cabinet - which is exactly the same as the old one.

  • Daniel Roder

    Reward for failure. Interesting. Is this what May means when she talks about strong and stable government, appointing people who have lost their seats? Then again, she probably felt bad because her dreadful, dreadful campaign was part of the reason why the Tories lost a 20 point poll lead and the likes of Barwell lost his seat.

    At this rate, Barwell will be promoted again before too long, once May finally goes. Surely she is on borrowed time, a completely busted flush?

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