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Kris Hopkins named housing minister

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Kris Hopkins has replaced Mark Prisk as housing minister following a cabinet reshuffle

The 50 year-old Conservative MP for Keighly in West Yorkshire has become junior minister at DCLG in what appears to be a downgrade for the housing portfolio.

The move comes one day after fellow Conservative MP Mark Prisk was told to stand down as housing minister by prime minister David Cameron.

Hopkins served as a private in the Duke of Wellington’s Regiment before lecturing in media theory, communications and digital media.

Like his new boss, communities secretary Eric Pickles, Hopkins was leader of Bradford council and of its Conservative group before becoming an MP.

Hopkins said: ‘I was very humbled when the Prime Minister asked me to take on this role, and now look forward to the challenges ahead.

‘As a former leader of Bradford Council and someone who cut his political teeth in local government, I have a huge regard for the work elected representatives and officers at all levels do on behalf of the communities they serve.

‘I now look forward to working closely with them and other colleagues in the weeks and months ahead.’

Martin Bellinger, executive director at Essential Living, said: ‘Kris will bring fresh thinking to the role and his experience working within a council will be absolutely vital to helping address the daily barriers faced by planners and developers.

‘As someone very much in touch with modern culture, we’re sure he will recognise the key role renting has to play in UK housing and look forward to working with him.’

Announcing his departure on Twitter yesterday, Prisk said: ‘Been asked to step aside from Housing for a younger generation. Disappointing but it’s been a great eleven years on frontbencher.’

The Chartered Institute for Housing praised Prisk’s ‘commendable focus on delivery’ during his stint as housing minister.

Its statement read: ‘Although progress on numbers of new homes has been disappointingly slow it is clear that the minister has been working hard to explore different delivery options and taking a personal interest in work to unlock stalled sites.

‘He also brought a good deal of personal integrity to the role and a careful and thoughtful approach informed by a real understanding of the housing system and housing markets reflecting his background as a property professional.

‘His personal style was highly non-partisan demonstrating a willingness to search for solutions rather than a desire to play politics with something as important to peoples’ lives as housing.’

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