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So how much does our new housing Secretary of State know about, well, housing?

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Wed 02 May 2018

So how much does our new housing Secretary of State know about, well, housing?

What do you know about James Brokenshire?

Or, put another way, what does our new housing Secretary of State know about housing?

According to the Parliamentary register of interests, as reported by Inside Housing,  he appears to be a private landlord who owns and gets rent from a property in Essex.

If so, he presumably has no problem with Right to Rent checks that must be carried out on all prospective tenants – the checks were introduced under his watch when he was immigration minister.

He is also a non-practising lawyer – and he is a Remainer, who campaigned against Brexit.

He does not seem to have mentioned housing very much at all in the past – something he has more than made up for in the past few days.

On his website, he wrote in 2014 of his approval of George Osborne’s Stamp Duty reforms, and in 2016, he noted that “for too many, the goal of home ownership remains out of reach”.

However, our new Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government is clearly mugging up fast on his new brief.

On Monday he told the Commons that “the essential issue of housing . . . will be a core priority for me in the time ahead”. Which, being charitable, is probably how it should be.

So, let’s open a book: how long before Mr Brokenshire mentions the broken housing market?

* The National Landlords Association has written to new Home Secretary Sajid Javid – Brokenshire’s predecessor – asking him to review Right to Rent, saying the policy is costing £4.7m a year and that its checks are “excessive”.