Margaret Hodge, MP for Barking, is the new Minister for Architecture following Prime Minister Gordon Brown's massive Cabinet reshuffle.
The shake-up, which saw relative unknown James Purnell take over as Culture Secretary, also saw Hodge move from her role as Minister for Industry at the Department of Trade and Industry.
Hodge replaces David Lammy, who was widely criticised by the profession for showing a lack of interest in the post, and it is understood a more seasoned performer in the political sphere was needed to take over the role.
RIBA president-elect Sunand Prasad said: 'I helped judge a competition on nursery design for CABE when Hodge was working alongside the body as Minister for Children, and she was a tremendous supporter of architecture.
'If she shows that kind of commitment in her new role, I welcome the appointment very much. She worked very closely with CABE to get fantastic designs such as DSDHA's Paradise Park Children's Centre built.'
Hodge's political career began when she became a local councillor in 1973, and she was elected as MP for Barking in 1994.
Since then, she has worked as a minister in a number of government departments, including the Department for Education and Skills, where she held the roles of Minister of State for Lifelong Learning, Further and Higher Education, and Minister of State for Children, Young People and Families.by Richard Vaughan