Tory MP will not attend Cabinet meetings under new regime

Tory MP Grant Shapps is understood to have been appointed housing minister, but unlike his Labour predecessor in the post will not attend Cabinet meetings.

Shapps held the shadow housing brief since 2007 and has beaten off competition from Liberal Democrat housing spokesperson Sarah Teather for the post.

In the previous government former housing minister John Healey had a seat at cabinet meetings, but the list of office holders who will attend cabinet alongside the secretaries of state published yesterday did not include the housing minister.

The decision will be seen as a downgrading of the importance of the job at a time when the supply of new homes falls a long way short of demand.

Shapps will work under communities secretary Eric Pickles who will be ultimately responsible for housing and planning within his ministry.