Reshuffles in Conservative and Labour parties ahead of party conferences

Over the past month we’ve seen Cabinet and Shadow Cabinet reshuffles in the government and the opposition respectively, as both parties prepare for a general election in 2024. Following the resignation of Ben Wallace, Rishi Sunak appointed former Department for Energy Security and Net Zero (DESNZ) Secretary, Grant Shapps, to Secretary of State for Defence. To replace Shapps at DESNZ, the prime minister has appointed Claire Coutinho as Secretary of State. Coutinho will lead on the government’s work to reach targets on energy supply and decarbonisation.

Moving on to the Labour Party, a more substantial reshuffle took place across the Shadow Cabinet – including deputy leader Angela Rayner becoming Shadow Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (LUHC) Secretary. Rayner replaced Lisa Nandy, who had served in the role since its creation in November 2021 and has now been made Shadow Minister for International Development.

Angela Rayner confirmed that Liverpool MP Paula Barker would continue in the Shadow LUHC team in a newly created role – Shadow Minister for Devolution and the English Regions – signifying the importance Labour will place on devolving power away from Westminster. Weaver Vale MP, Mike Amesbury, was also announced as a new member of Labour’s Shadow LUHC team as Building Safety and Homelessness Minister. We were delighted to have Mike Amesbury attend our Real Homes, Real Change showcase in the House of Commons in June and look forward to working with him and the rest of the team in the future.

[Mike Amesbury MP with NHC chief exec, Tracy Harrison, at Real Homes, Real Change showcase in the House of Commons in June]

Rayner also confirmed that Shadow Housing Minister, Matthew Pennycook, would remain in his role.

Other changes to Labour’s Shadow Cabinet include Liz Kendall being appointed as Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary and Thangam Debbonaire taking on the Shadow Culture, Media and Sport brief – replacing Lucy Powell who was appointed Shadow Leader of the House. Sarah Jones MP was also moved into Ed Miliband’s Shadow DESNZ team as Minister for Industry and Decarbonisation. To see Labour’s Shadow Cabinet in full, see here.

The NHC will continue to engage with both the government and the opposition in the run-up to the next general election, as we focus on our influencing priorities of putting housing at the heart of a rebalanced country and meeting the net zero challenge. This includes attending both party conferences in October, where we will be sharing the initial findings from our new Pride in Place research project and meeting with MPs and stakeholders.