Reading West MP replaces Gavin Barwell, who was ousted at last week’s general election

Alok Sharma, the MP for Reading West, has been named as the new Housing & Planning Minister.

He was appointed to the housing brief after Gavin Barwell, who was previously the department’s minister, was ousted from his Croydon Central constituency last Thursday.

Barwell has since been appointed Prime Minister Theresa May’s chief-of-staff.

Sharma, who was re-elected to the constituency with a 2,876 majority last week, was previously the under-Parliamentary Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs.

The MP for Reading West since 2010, Sharma is a qualified chartered accountant, and has worked for various financial institutions including Nikko Securities.

His website says he “successfully campaigned to deliver government investment in local infrastructure, including improvements at Reading, Tilehurst, Theale, Pangbourne and Reading West stations and the extension of Crossrail to Reading.

“He has helped to deliver funding to cut road congestion and for flood alleviation projects across west Reading, including the Purley Bund.”

His website also says he is “committed to campaigning against any unsustainable development across Reading West”, having worked with local campaign groups “to fight unsustainable development on green spaces like Pincents Hill and scale back housing on the Bath Road Reservoir site”.