A housing minister appointed just nine months ago by Rishi Sunak has now been asked to stand down during today’s reshuffle triggered by the sacking home Home Secretary Suella Braverman.
Rachel Maclean, who is MP for Redditch but also had a key role in getting the Renters (Reform) Bill through parliament, revealed her exit from the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Local Government (DLUHC) in a tweet.
“I’ve been asked to step down from my role as Housing Minister,” she said.
“[I am] disappointed and was looking forward to introducing the Renters Reform Bill to Committee tomorrow and later the Leasehold and Freehold Bill. It has been a privilege to hold the position and I wish my successor well.
“I want to thank everyone in the DLUHC who it has been a huge pleasure to work with as well as all those who have given their time, commitment and energy to work with me and inform policy on this vital agenda.
“I will never lose my passion for housing and planning.”
Maclean has been busy during her short tenure at DLUHC, making her its 16th housing minister during the Tories 13 years in power.
This has included trying to reassure landlords – not always successfully – that the reform bill will not harm their interests and batting off calls by housing campaigners for more radical changes to the private rented sector, including two-year minimum fixed contracts for tenants.
She also made headlines recently after rejecting calls for dedicated housing courts for landlords and tenants in dispute.
But the announcement of her departure has surprised some, including those who had expected her to be at a parliamentary meeting tomorrow (14th November) where she was due to help steer the Renters (Reform) Bill through its first scrutiny stage.
Timothy Douglas (pictured), Head of Policyand Campaigns at Propertymark, says: “We are disappointed by Housing Minister Rachel Maclean’s departure from the Cabinet.
"This makes it difficult for any housing legislation, whether that’s the Renters (Reform) Bill or leasehold reform, to move forward when Housing Ministers keep coming and going.
"Ms Maclean has engaged with the sector and understood where reform is needed. Propertymark needs more consistency and not change from policymakers. We will engage with the Lee Rowley MP, to outline how Propertymark and its members play a key role in the property sector.”
Tom Darling (pictured), Campaign Manager of the Renters’ Reform Coalition, who is due to attend the meeting, says: “It is frankly shambolic that we will now be on to our 16th housing minister since 2010, and incredibly nine just since the Government promised to end no-fault evictions.
“Now, just before the first day of the important committee stage, which involves poring over the detail of the Bill, she is sacked – it makes a mockery of government and shows a shocking lack of respect for England’s 11 million private renters.
“Hopefully when we arrive for Bill Committee tomorrow morning there will be a minister there representing the Government.
“Rachel Maclean attended our events and, though we don't believe the Government are going far enough on rental reform, she was always willing to engage with us – we wish her well for the future.
For the moment no other exits have been announced for DLUHC with junior minister Felicity Buchan and secretary Michael Gove remaining in post. Lee Rowley, who had previously held the planning and local government briefs, will now do Maclean's job.
Picture credit: Twitter/X/Rachel Maclean