Explainer: Who is new housing minister Stuart Andrew?

The former deputy chief whip Stuart Andrew has been appointed as the new housing minister as part of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s mini-reshuffle
Stuart Andrew

The former deputy chief whip Stuart Andrew has been appointed as the new housing minister as part of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s mini-reshuffle. Andrew is the 11th housing minister in 12 years since the Conservatives came to power in 2010.

Brexit-supporting Johnson loyalist Andrew, the MP for Pudsey in West Yorkshire since the 2010 election, has served as deputy chief whip for the last two years, a period which has seen whips act to try and loosen parliamentary standards on corruption to protect suspended, now former MP Owen Paterson, and accused of threatening blackmail against MPs believed to be intending to submit letters of no confidence in the PM.

He has previously served as a junior defence minister and junior Welsh minister, initially entering government in the final days of Theresa May’s regime in 2018.

The new housing minister, who will be in charge of government plans to build 300,000 new homes a year,  has an impressive track record of campaigning against new housing. He is a leading opponent of plans by Leeds City Council to provide around 70,000 homes in the city over the next 16 years, a move he described in parliament as “over-ambitious” and posing “a threat to the green-belt land that makes our city and my constituency great.” In 2019, he also wrote to Bradford Council objecting to a new link road he claimed would impact his constituency on similar grounds.

Andrew’s own website adds, under the banner Saving our Green Spaces: “I will continue to work with local residents and community groups to save green spaces that are under threat of development thanks to Leeds Labour Council. We need to preserve these sites for future generations to enjoy.”

Andrew is also a landlord himself and was one of 72 landlord MPs who were criticised for voting against a 2016 amendment to the then Housing and Planning Bill which was designed to ensure that all rented homes should be “fit for human habitation.” The amendment was defeated by 312 votes to 219.

Andrew is one of a number of loyalist Johnson MPs brought closer to the PM’s inner circle as the embattled party boss faces increasing criticism from both his own and the opposition benches in the wake of a steady drip of scandals. Johnson may like to note, then, that his latest right hand man previously defected to Labour, while serving on Wrexham County Borough Council in 1998. He served as a Labour Councillor for two years before returning to the Tory fold in 2000.

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