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Brandon Lewis 'promoted to housing and planning minister'

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Brandon Lewis 'promoted to housing and planning minister'

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Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Central Government, Local Government

Brandon Lewis 'promoted to minister for housing and planning' Brandon Lewis 'promoted to minister for housing and planning'

Brandon Lewis has been promoted to the position of Minister of State for Housing and Planning in today's reshuffle, the Department for Communities and Local Government said today.

The news, revealed on the department's website, casts some doubt on the future of current housing minister Kris Hopkins who has remained silent on Twitter about his future all day.

According to the DCLG, Hopkins' role is "currently being updated".

Lewis is a close ally of Communities Secretary Eric Pickles and has been promoted within the DCLG. He has had a rocky ride as 'fire minister' in recent months but his handling of the Fire Brigades Union has obviously done enough to impress.

Pickles himself has been the subject of much reshuffle speculation in recent days, but earlier tweeted: "Just spoken to the PM I am very honoured to continue as Secretary of State at DCLG"

Meanwhile, former Planning Minister Nick Boles has been promoted to Minister of State for the Business & Education depts. Part of his brief will be equal marriage implementation.

Joining the communities department will be Portsmouth North MP Penny Mordaunt. Her specific duties are yet to be confirmed. A Naval Reservist, she appeared on the ITV Saturday evening show Splash!

Brandon Lewis was elected as the Conservative MP for Great Yarmouth in May 2010. He is a qualified barrister and a company director.

Before joining the government, Lewis was an active member of a number of All Party Parliamentary Groups, including those for enterprise zones and local growth as well as local government. He was co-chair of a group on coastal erosion and continues to work with colleagues who represent other coastal towns to highlight common issues in their constituencies.

Lewis served on Brentwood Borough Council for more than 10 years, with five as leader.

In 2009, Lewis and Pickles formed an unlikely broadcasting double act. ‘The Eric and Brandon Show’ aired on obscure Essex radio station Phoenix FM and was billed as non-party political despite the fact the presenters were both arch Tories. It featured the two politicians interviewing local personalities interspersed with easy listening music.

David Orr, chief executive of the National Housing Federation, said: "We welcome the appointment of Brandon Lewis as Minister of Housing and Planning. To end the housing crisis once and for all we need a long term plan and we look forward to working with him to ensure housing reaches the top of the political agenda."

Rick Henderson, chief executive of Homeless Link, said: “The appointment of Brandon Lewis as housing and planning minister is welcome and we looking forward to working with him. It is encouraging that both portfolios will once again be represented at minister of state level.

“Our members have long been calling for an increase in the housing stock and access to genuinely affordable homes. We hope that the combining of planning and housing into one role will lead to better policy that ensures those in the greatest need are supported into long-term accommodation.  

“We encourage Mr Lewis to use his new position to prioritise ending homelessness for good and call for the commitment and ambition to do so.”

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