Conservative MP James Brokenshire is the latest in the ever-growing list of housing secretary appointments and will take up the role of the new housing, communities and local government secretary. He replaces Sajid Javid who has been appointed as home secretary.
The former Northern Ireland secretary stepped down from the role in January for health reasons, but now returns to the cabinet. A former partner at the law firm Jones Day, Brokenshire served as a junior minister in the Home Office for all six years of Theresa May’s tenure as home secretary, from 2010 and 2016.
His appointment sees his return to the frontbench since his resignation as Northern Ireland secretary when he announced he needed weeks off for urgent surgery to remove a lesion in his right lung.
Commenting on his appointment, Brokenshire has said: “Honoured to have been asked by the prime minister to serve as secretary of state at the Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government. Looking forward to taking the government’s agenda forward especially on building the homes our country needs.”
During his time as immigration minister he was responsible for implementing the ‘right to rent’ checks in the private rented sector. This may prove controversial with some MPs who may argue it was in part criticisms of the government’s immigration policies that led to the resignation of Amber Rudd as home secretary.
He takes over a department whose recent rebranding to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government was widely interpreted as the government trying to demonstrate their commitment to housing policy. Brokenshire’s appointment means another change and he becomes the fourth secretary of state for housing since 2015.
Johnny Caddick, managing director at Moda Living, said: “The housing crisis is not going to solve itself, it will take strong leadership from the Government and a consistent approach to oversee the changes needed to build a home for everyone. The lack of ministerial continuity should worry the entire sector, so we hope that James Brokenshire can buck the trend of past ministers and provide stability to the government’s housing approach and see through the much-needed reforms. Sajid Javid oversaw the biggest policy shift towards the rental sector we have ever seen. James Brokenshire must also focus on making renting aspirational, and Moda is delighted to support that effort with a promise of family friendly tenancies, quality homes and a level of management and service that people deserve.”
Brokenshire is set for some tough challenges in his new position with housing being right at the top of priorities for the prime minister and this government. The need to provide more housing and have more affordable housing at that continues to be a pressing matter and something an increasing number of voters are frustrated by.