‘Disappointed’ Rachel Maclean becomes latest housing minister casualty

The Redditch MP, who became the sixth housing minister to be appointed within a year when she took the role in February, and the 15th since 2010, said it had been a ‘privilege’ to hold the position.

Her replacement in the job is expected to be named shortly.

Confirming the news of her departure on X (formerly Twitter), Maclean wrote: ‘I’ve been asked to step down from my role as housing minister.

‘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.’

Thanking everyone in the Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities (DLUHC), she added: ‘I will never lose my passion for housing and planning.’

Critics of the move have described Maclean’s departure as another casualty of the government’s ‘revolving door’ for the DLUHC, which ‘for once’ had considered ‘some meaty policies’ under her leadership.

British Property Federation chief executive Melanie Leech said: ‘The revolving door of housing ministers has turned once more.

‘For a sector that thrives on certainty and wants to see a long-term plan for housing, such discontinuity in personnel is a significant concern and actively undermines investment and long-term commitment across the sector.’

Describing Maclean as ‘hardworking, engaged, and [someone] who took a deep interest in the benefits of good housing’, Leech added: ‘The government is facing numerous challenges in reviving stalling housing supply, plus delivering the critical infrastructure required for future economic growth and carbon reduction.

‘To meet those challenges we require political stability and continuity in decision-making.’

Peter Hardy, partner and co-head of housing at law firm Addleshaw Goddard, said the speed of succession – now 16 different housing ministers in 13 years of Conservative government – was giving ministers ‘hardly long enough to get [their] head around this complex area of policy’, rendering them ‘completely ineffective’.

Hardy added: ‘Maclean has only been in post for nine months, but that’s still a fairly lengthy term by recent standards. For once we have had some meaty policies being considered.

‘Whatever you might think of the Renters’ Reform bill, or the suggestions around reform of long leases for houses and apartments, these are good things to be debating.’

But he added that he was ‘not sure it even really matters’ who Maclean’s replacement would be, as, ‘the next incumbent will inevitably be gone, too, in a matter of months’.

Business secretary Kemi Badenoch responded to Maclean’s tweet, saying she was very sorry to see her go. ‘You were an excellent minister,’ she added.

Among the most high-profile casualties of Sunak’s latest reshuffle is Suella Braverman, who was sacked as home secretary following growing public pressure over her criticism of police.

Braverman will be replaced by James Cleverly, while David Cameron will fill Cleverly’s former role as foreign secretary, in an unexpected move from Sunak.

Rachel Maclean was appointed housing minister on 7 February, during a previous government reshuffle by Sunak, replacing Lucy Frazer in the role.

The post had also variously been held by Stuart Andrew, Marcus Jones, and Lee Rowley since Chris Pincher’s departure in February 2022.

Maclean’s previous frontbench experience includes serving as justice minister during Liz Truss’s 44-day tenure in No 10. She became an MP after winning her Redditch seat in the 2017 general election.

The six Conservative housing ministers since February 2020:

  • Rachel Maclean (February 2023 – November 2023)
  • Lucy Frazer (October 2022 – February 2023)
  • Lee Rowley (September 2022 – October 2022)
  • Marcus Jones (July 2022 – September 2022)
  • Stuart Andrew (February 2022 – July 2022)
  • Chris Pincher (February 2020 – February 2022)

RIBA President Muyiwa Oki responds

It’s incredibly frustrating to see another Housing Minister ousted after just 10 months in the job – the 16th in 13 years.    

The Government has to get a grip on this housing crisis – it demands urgent action. We need continuity, the development of a strategic plan and certainty to ensure homes and places are planned, designed and built to meet the needs of current and future communities.    

Architects stand ready to help create high quality, connected, inclusive and accessible, vibrant places where people want to live.