Boris Johnson’s time as prime minister is hanging by a thread after a number of resignations over the past couple of days.
Since Rishi Sunak resigned as chancellor and Sajid Javid quit as health secretary on Tuesday night, a number of high-profile ministers and junior ministers have stepped down from Johnson’s government, including housing minister Stuart Andrew.
Andrew quit amid a flood of ministerial resignations from the government yesterday, provoking a response from the property industry – but that was before levelling up secretary, Michael Gove, was sacked from the cabinet last night!
Nathan Emerson, CEO of Propertymark, said: “The market is a huge part of the economy and consistent leadership is vital. We need policies which allow for fluidity of movement, releasing more stock as well as empowering buyers at all stages of life, it is frustrating for relationship building to have changing ministers, however we work closely with civil servants who remain consistent and are ultimately the gate keepers in the machine.”
Lawrence Turner, associate director of Boyer planning consultancy, part of Leaders Romans Group, commented: “With the resignation of Stuart Andrew as housing and planning minister, we will have seen one new ministerial planning appointment each year on average since 2012.
“With such a stop-start approach to planning reform this has failed to simplify the planning system and has compounded our response to the housing crisis, and we remain nowhere near delivering the government’s pledge for 300,000 homes a year.”
Colin Brown, head of planning & development at Carter Jonas, said: “There is clearly a risk of severe inertia within those government departments that are seeing Ministers resign and despite the PM’s spokesperson indicating confidence that all vacated posts will be filled promptly, this cannot be helping the legislative programme.
“We have now had 15 housing ministers since 2005, with a new one nearly every year. At a time when the government needs to take firm steps to keep housing delivery on the front foot this is distinctly unhelpful.”
Speaking prior to Gove’s sacking last night, Brown warned: “Should Michael Gove also resign this will add further confusion, although some would breathe a sigh of relief given his recent pronouncements on new housing and planning reform.”
Interestingly, Propertymark’s Emerson said yesterday that the the housing market should remain stable, with no “negative effects” from Andrew’s resignation, as long as Gove retained his position, enabling him to continue to provide “strategic oversight”. Gove was sacked by the prime minister a few hours later.