Esther McVey has been sacked as housing minister; she was the ninth housing minister in as many years.
Her successor is the little known Tamworth MP Chris Pincher.
A statement from McVey, issued just after her dismissal, says: "I'm very sorry to be relieved of my duties as housing minister. I wish my successor the very best and every success. I'm very grateful to the Prime Minister for having given me the opportunity to serve in his government and he will continue to have my support from the back benches."
McVey, 52, was a well-known figure in Conservative politics, having held a number of junior positions in the Cameron Coalition administration until entering the Cabinet in 2018, before resigning over Brexit a few months later.
McVey was appointed to her position soon after Boris Johnson became PM in the summer, but earlier this month briefings from government sources made clear that she was under threat.
Whoever takes over from McVey will be charged with steering through the Renters' Reform Bill - announced in December’s Queen’s Speech but so far without any timetable for being introduced as a law.
The Bill will contain:
- abolishing section 21 of the Housing Act 1988, a measure the government describes as “improving security for tenants in the rental sector and empowering them to challenge poor property standards without fear of being evicted as a result”;
- strengthening the rights of landlords who need to gain possession of their property through the courts, via a reformed section 8 and an improved court process;
- introducing a new lifetime deposit to ease the burden when tenants choose to move.
The new minister will also have to decide what to do about the recommendations of the Regulation of Property Agents’ working group, which has recommended mandatory qualifications for agents. Again, there is no timetable for the implementation of these recommendations, although the working group chair - Lord Best - insists they are likely to come into force within about two years.
Change at the Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government is not restricted to politicians - a senior civil servant has moved too.
Dame Melanie Dawes, the most senior woman in the civil service, has stepped down as permanent secretary at the MHCLG, a post she has held since 2015. She is moving to a key role at broadcasting regulator Ofcom.
Dawes presided at the MHCLG at a time when political interest in buy to let, first time buyers and estate and letting agency transparency reached fever pitch at times.