Who is the new housing secretary Robert Jenrick?

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has appointed relatively unknown MP Robert Jenrick to the role of housing and communities secretary.

Father-of three Jenrick, 37, replaces James Brokenshire who had been in the role since April 2018.

Former work and pensions secretary and Tory leadership hopeful Esther McVey has replaced Kit Malthouse as housing minister.

Up until his appointment yesterday, Jenrick was Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury and while he backed “remain” in the 2016 referendum, he voted to leave on March 29 without a deal rather than extending Article 50.

Prior to being elected as Conservative MP for Newark in June 2014, Jenrick was a corporate lawyer working for international firms in London and Moscow.

He later became international managing director of auction house Christie’s.

Privately-educated Jenrick was born in Wolverhampton and grew up near Ludlow in Shropshire before studying history at St John’s College Cambridge.

During the campaign for the Newark by-election he came under fire from rivals for owning a property portfolio along with his American wife Michal that was at the time worth an estimated £5m, according to the Daily Mail.

The couple’s properties included a flat in Marylebone, a flat in Westminster and Grade I listed Eye Manor in Herefordshire which they bought in 2009 for over £1m.

However his current register of interests lists only one property in Herefordshire.

Jenrick also drew criticism for attending US President Donald Trump’s inauguration in 2017 while he was chair of the all-party parliamentary group on international trade.

During his time in Westminster he has served as parliamentary private secretary to the minister for employment, the Lord Chancellor and secretary of state for justice and the home secretary, as well as sitting on the board of the Conservative Party.

Following news of his appointment yesterday Jenrick tweeted: “Excited and honoured to be appointed Secretary of State @mhclg – and to working with the team to build more homes, level up the regions and share prosperity and opportunity throughout the UK.”

Shelter chief executive Polly Neate says: “We look forward to working closely with the new team at MHCLG on the urgent steps needed to end this housing emergency.

“The abolition of Section 21 must be an immediate priority, so that private renters can feel secure in their homes. 

“And we need a real commitment to social housebuilding which is the only way we can fix the crisis for good – to provide the stable homes that millions of people need in order to be able to plan for their family’s future.”

North London estate agent and former Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors residential chairman Jeremy Leaf says: “The personalities are not important. 

“What we want to see is a continuation of the policies which their predecessors started – in other words, improving transactions, numbers, regulation, supply of affordable housing and improving planning processes.”

He adds: “While they may not have much background or experience on the property side of things, the new housing minister is very high profile and hopefully keen to make as big a name for herself in the housing sector as she has elsewhere. 

“The best news of all is that they have seats in the Cabinet, although McVey won’t be a full member, which hopefully shows the importance the new Prime Minister attaches to the housing crisis.”

Your Mortgage Decisions director Dominik Lipnicki welcomes the diversity Johnson has brought into the new cabinet, but says the appointments appear to focus on overcoming Brexit paralysis, rather than the long-standing issues facing the country, such as housing.

He says: “The constant reshuffles in the Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government over recent years have not helped deliver the long-term strategy that is needed.

“We are still not building anywhere near enough affordable homes.

“A cross-party solution may be needed to finally tackle these problems.”


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