Boris Johnson has named Robert Jenrick as the new housing, communities and local government secretary, following a wide-ranging reshuffle.
Mr Jenrick has been the MP for Newark since June 2014 and previously held the role of exchequer secretary to the Treasury.
Responding to the announcement, the chairman elect of the County Councils Network, Cllr David Williams said he ‘inherits a huge remit with a great deal of uncertainty over many key local government agendas,
‘Above all, we want to work with him and put in place the foundations for an ambitious long-term vision for local government,’ said Cllr Williams.
‘If supported by the right devolved powers and funding, particularly in areas such as strategic planning, infrastructure, and skills, county authorities can deliver the shared objectives it has with the new government: strong economic and employment growth for UKplc, building more homes of a variety of tenures, and improved social mobility for the next generation.’
In other news, Esther McVey has been appointed as minister of state at the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.
The appointment of Mr Jenrick follows the departure of James Brokenshire, who announced earlier that he was heading to the backbenches.
In a Twitter update posted yesterday (July 24), Mr Brokenshire said it has ‘been a huge privilege to serve’, but added he was ‘looking forward to being released from collective responsibility and campaigning on issues that matter to me and my constituents’.
He has been an MP since 2005 and was the former minister for Northern Ireland but resigned in January 2018 due to cancer treatment.
Mr Brokenshire is one of a number of cabinet members who have announced they are returning to the backbenches as Boris Johnson forms a new government.
Earlier, Greg Clark, the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) announced he is also stepping down.
Mr Clark, who has held the post since July 2016, congratulated Mr Johnson but said ‘the time is right to a new team for a new premiership’.
Mr Johnson is expected to announce details of his new cabinet over the next few hours, but it has already been reported that Mr Brokenshire’s special adviser – and former Localis chief executive – Liam Booth-Smith is set to take up a role in Downing Street.
The new prime minister has already given his first speech in the role, in which he pledged to give ‘millions of young people the chance to own their own homes’ and businesses the ‘confidence to invest across the UK’
‘It is time we unleashed the productive power not just of London and the South East, but of every corner of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland,’ said Mr Johnson.
Senior reporter – NewStart