This is a big promotion for the young Remainer (the first cabinet minister ever to be born in the Eighties) who had been serving as Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury. Despite his stance on Brexit, Robert Jenrick – MP for Newark since 2014 – backed Boris Johnson early on in the leadership campaign and was an enthusiastic advocate for him on the airwaves.
With the housing crisis and crippling underfunding of local government after a decade of austerity, this is a tough brief. Much will depend on the amount Johnson’s cabinet will let him spend – and how genuine Johnson was about turning the taps on spending and borrowing for infrastructure projects during his leadership campaign. As a Treasury alumnus, Jenrick may have picked up some tips on how to persuade them to open the coffers; his instincts are to increase supply of houses.
Yet Jenrick will be particularly vulnerable to Labour attacks as the Housing Secretary with multiple expensive houses for himself; his £5m property portfolio made headlines in 2014.