Department refuses to confirm that Lucy Frazer to be named as fifth housing minister this year in place of Lee Rowley

Confusion surrounds the identity of the new housing minister with the man confirmed by the department as minister just days ago now apparently given the local government brief.

Lee Rowley

Lee Rowley has taken on the local government brief

Building’s sister title Housing Today reported that Lee Rowley was confirmed as housing minister by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) last week, shortly after the appointment of Michael Gove as the new secretary of state. Rowley tweeted on Friday that he was “delighted to become the local government minister at @luhc”.

Industry sources said it appeared that minister of state Lucy Frazer – whose portfolio has never been determined – was now being lined up to take on the housing brief, but the department has been so far unable to confirm this.

Frazer spoke at a parliamentary reception held late last week by the New Homes Quality Board to launch the New Homes Ombudsman, at which she is understood to have implied she was likely to take on the housing minister role. According to her Twitter feed, she also spoke at a briefing of the Better Planning Coalition on “how the Levelling Up & Regeneration Bill can deliver new homes that enrich communities, conserve our environment and open up opportunities for people to stay local and go far”.

lucy frazer 2

Lucy Frazer has spoken at housing events in the past week but her brief has not yet been confirmed

However, so far Frazer has made no direct public comment on what her brief will be within DLUHC, beyond confirming her appointment as minister of state in the department on October 27.

In a tweet posted on November 4, Rowley said: “Delighted to become the Local Government Minister at @luhc - looking forward to working with Councillors, officers and communities across the UK to show the difference that excellent local government makes to all of our lives.”

Appointed by Liz Truss’ former levelling up secretary Simon Clarke, Rowley was in post for just 44 days.

If Frazer is made housing minister, she will be the 14th housing minister since the Conservatives were first elected in 2010, and the fifth person to hold the portfolio in 2022 alone.

Labour shadow housing and planning minister Matthew Pennycook tweeted: “Shadowing my fifth housing and planning minister in less than a year and wondering whether I should start taking it personally…”

Yorkshire-born lawyer Frazer is a KC and has been MP for South East Cambridgeshire since 2015, and has previously been a minister of state at the Department for Transport, financial secretary to the Treasury, solicitor general and justice minister.

A spokesperson for DLUHC said the ministerial portfolios will be confirmed “in due course”.