Reading West MP Alok Sharma has been appointed as new housing and planning minister.
His appointment by Theresa May comes after previous post holder Gavin Barwell lost his Croydon Central constituency seat in last week’s general election. Barwell is now working at Number 10 as the prime minister’s chief of staff.
Communities and local government secretary Sajid Javid used Twitter to congratulate Sharma, who he said was a friend, saying it was ‘great to have him on board’.
Sharma is not known to have any background in housing. He is a qualified chartered accountant and was vice chairman of the Conservative party before becoming parliamentary under secretary at the Foreign Office last July.
He was first elected to Reading West in 2010, and has served on the Commons treasury and science and technology select committees and as parliamentary private secretary at the Treasury. Last year, he became the prime minister’s infrastructure envoy to India.
He has also served as parliamentary private secretary to the former chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Oliver Letwin, who had overall responsibility for the Cabinet Office.
Before entering parliament, Sharma qualified as a chartered accountant with Coopers & Lybrand Deloitte and then worked in banking for 16 years, first with the Japanese firm Nikko Securities and then Enskilda Securities, the investment banking arm of SE Banken. There he held senior roles based out of London, Stockholm and Frankfurt, including serving as a member of the bank’s Corporate Finance Global Management Committee.
Sharma, 49, is married and lives in Reading with his wife, two daughters and his dog Olly.
So we have our new housing minister. Accountant by trade, Reading West MP since 2010, has been a Foreign Office minister for the last year. https://t.co/N4iVMC34Nf— Arlen Pettitt (@NEEChamberArlen) June 13, 2017
New Housing Minister's Voting record - Alok Sharma MP, Reading West - TheyWorkForYou https://t.co/WxZRpp8OCX— Paul Gartland (@PaulGartlandHHA) June 13, 2017