Penrose in, Vaizey out: the architecture minister saga
Ed Vaizey has lasted just four days as architecture minister following a decision to switch those duties to fellow Tory John Penrose
Little known in the world of architecture, the MP for Weston-super-Mare and ex-Shadow Minister for Business, Enterprise & Regulatory has become the third architecture minister in a month. Prior to Penrose’s arrival, Vaizey had taken the hotseat from controversial figure Margaret Hodge and had been welcomed by the likes of RIBA who praised his ‘vast interest in architecture and the built environment’.
However Vaizey’s role in the new coalition government has now been officially confirmed as minister for ‘Arts, Media, Museums and Galleries, Telecoms and Broadband, Digital Switchover, Creative Industries, Libraries.’
Meanwhile Penrose, a former chairman of educational software company Logotron and the husband of Talk Talk managing director Dido Harding, has been given responsibility for Tourism, Heritage and the Built Environment, Royal Parks and Royal Household, National Lottery, Licensing, Gambling, Horseracing.
A spokeman for the Department of Culture, Media and sport said: ‘With Penrose becoming Minister for Tourism and Heritage, [it is] the first time the built environment has been included in a formal ministerial title for decades. He has had them added to his brief in recognition of the vital role these things play in our tourism offer to the world, and to demonstrate the importance that the department attaches to them.’
Vaizey’s swan song as architecture minister was to introduce Kevin McCloud at the RIBA Trust annual lecture on Tuesday night at the RIBA.
Previous story (17.05.10)
Ed Vaizey named as new architecture minister
Conservative MP Ed Vaizey has been named as the country’s new architecture minister following the formation of the coalition government
Vaizey replaces controversial predecessor Margaret Hodge as under secretary of state Department for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport.
The 42-year-old MP for Wantage and Didcot told the AJ last week he still intends to make good his pledge to scrap the ARB (AJ 30.09.10) and transfer part of its role to the RIBA and potentially ‘bring a small annual cost saving to all architects’.
Back in September last year Vaizey described the government-funded body, which has regulated the architectural profession since 1997, as a ‘working example’ of how organisations can focus on self-preservation ‘whether or not it is in the public’s best interest’.
The minister, who is a trustee of both the Heritage of London Trust and the National Churches Trust, is no stranger to the world of architecture having regularly met with the RIBA during his role as shadow culture minister and has publicly backed CABE, claiming the government’s design watchdog was ‘in part responsible for my architectural education’.
Catherine Croft, director at the Twentieth Century Society, welcomed the news. She said: ‘It’s good news to have someone with a genuine interest in architecture and great communications skills in the post—-we hope he’ll share our passion for preserving the best buildings of the C20th and not be prejudiced against the recent past.’
Previous story (12.05.10)
New Government: architecture minister Hodge out; ARB still to go
The new coalition government between the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats has spelt the end for controversial architecture minister Margaret Hodge.