Former Northern Ireland secretary replaced by Newark MP Robert Jenrick, as Esther McVey appointed housing minister

James Brokenshire in parliament on 30 April, 2018

Source: Parliament TV

Housing, communities and local government secretary James Brokenshire

James Brokenshire has been sacked as Housing Secretary in Boris Johnson’s comprehensive reshuffle as he enters Number 10.

Brokenshire, who has been replaced by a relative newcomer to Parliament, Newark MP Robert Jenrick, was the fourth secretary of state responsible for housing in the space of three years. He was appointed in April last year when Sajid Javid was made Home Secretary by Theresa May.

In another move which is sure to raise eyebrows, former Work & Pensions minister Esther McVey becomes minister of state for housing. McVey will also attend Cabinet meetings, Number 10 said in a statement.

In what is turning into a night of the long knives as Johnson makes his mark on government, Brokenshire announced his departure in a tweet, saying: “After 13 years service on the front bench including 9 in Government will be heading to the backbenches. Has been a huge privilege to serve, but looking forward to being released from collective responsibility and campaigning on issues that matter to me and my constituents.”

He was widely seen as one of the better ministers in recent times to tackle the housing portfolio, despite courting controversy by appointing - and this week reappointing - Roger Scruton to his Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission.

Javid left the MHCLG – which oversees planning policy, housing associations, architecture, and the construction of new homes – barely three months after the department was rebranded to emphasise the May government’s keenness to prioritise tackling the nation’s housing crisis.

Javid had replaced Greg Clark who replaced Eric Pickles who served as communities secretary for the entirety of the coalition government period.

So far nine other cabinet ministers have gone.

Education secretary Damian Hinds, transport secretary Chris Grayling, justice secretary David Gauke and business secretary Greg Clark have all left.

Chancellor Philip Hammond, cabinet secretary David Lidington, defence’s Penny Mordaunt and the secretaries of both international trade and development Liam Fox and Rory Stewart have also departed.