Lord Callanan given construction brief following departure of Lee Rowley

The government has appointed Lord Callanan as the new construction minister following the departure of Lee Rowley, the department has confirmed.

Lord Callanan, already a junior minister within the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy department (BEIS), has been given the brief after his predecessor stepped down in the wave of resignations that pre-empted Boris Johnson’s decision to announce his departure from Downing Street last week.

Lord Callanan portrait

Lord Callanan has been given the construction brief

Baron Callanan, or Martin Callanan, has been a parliamentary under secretary in the department since February 2020, with responsibilities including energy efficiency and fuel poverty, smart meters, company law and the Land Registry.

Brexit-supporting Callanan was formerly a minister of state in the Department for Exiting the EU.

Mark Reynolds, co-chair of the Construction Leadership Council, and chairman and chief exec of Mace Group, welcomed the appointment of Lord Callanan and the rest of the BEIS team. He said: “We look forward to working closely with them – and with the new Prime Minister once they are appointed later this year.

“What our industry needs to unlock growth and ensure our resilience is stability and clarity. Given the current economic uncertainty and the challenges we currently face around energy security, a fast-changing regulatory environment and the pressure on us to meet the UK’s ambitious net zero targets, it has never been more important that we continue to have visible and vocal leadership from Government.

Reynolds also thanked Lee Rowley MP, who he described as a “valuable and impactful advocate for construction” during his tenure at BEIS.

Brian Berry, chief executive of the Federation of Master Builders, said Lord Callanan was well known to many in the building industry through his work on climate change and the need to retrofit existing homes.

“This experience will be invaluable as Lord Callanan takes up the construction portfolio and hopefully will provide a welcome boost to those builders working in the repair, maintenance, and improvement sector. Top of the list for Master Builders is the need to tackle the skills and material shortages that are plaguing small building companies. The FMB looks forward to working with the Minister over the coming months.”

A spokesperson for BEIS said Lord Callanan’s portfolio of responsibilities now included the construction sector on a temporary basis, and that the appointment would be confirmed on the government website in due course.

Under the rules voted through by the backbench 1922 Committee last night, the Conservative Party has committed to have its new leader - and the new UK prime minister - in place by September 5, after which a new cabinet and ministerial team is expected to be appointed.