Reshuffles and Resignations: November’s key ministerial changes

November saw major changes in government with prime minister Rishi Sunak carrying out a reshuffle ahead of the Autumn Statement and a potential 2024 general election. The spotlight of these changes fell on the unexpected return of former prime minister David Cameron, who was made Foreign Secretary by Sunak, marking his return to government since stepping down as prime minister in 2016. Cameron takes up the role vacated by James Cleverly, who replaces Suella Braverman as Home Secretary.

Further changes to the Cabinet include Victoria Atkins becoming Health Secretary, replacing Steve Barclay who has taken over Therese Coffey’s role as Secretary of State at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).

There was major news for the housing sector as housing minister, Rachel Maclean, was removed from the role after nine months and replaced with Lee Rowley. Rowley, MP for North East Derbyshire, was briefly made housing minister by Liz Truss in September 2022 but was later appointed as Minister for Local Government and Building Safety by new prime minster Rishi Sunak in October 2022. Lee Rowley becomes the 16th housing minister since 2010. Simon Hoare MP has been appointed to take on Rowley’s former local government brief, whilst Baroness Penn has been appointed as a junior minister in the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.

There were also changes to the Labour frontbench this month, with eight junior ministers resigning to back an amendment to the King’s Speech which called for a ceasefire in Gaza. The resignations included Paula Barker, who left her role as Shadow Minister for Devolution and the English Regions. Jim McMahon, MP for Oldham West and Royton, has become Shadow Minister for English Devolution and Local Government. Labour have also created a new role within Angela Rayner’s Shadow Levelling Up, Housing and Communities team, with MP for Blaydon, Liz Twist, being appointed to the new Shadow Minister for Local Services and Communities brief.

For more information, see details of all Government Ministers and the Shadow Cabinet.

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.