New housing minister Brandon Lewis

The appointment of Brandon Lewis as housing and planning minister in David Cameron’s reshuffle signifies a serious elevation for housing in the current government.

Lewis has been promoted to the position of Minister of State for Housing and Planning, effectively combining the roles of former housing minister Kris Hopkins and Nick Boles, the former planning minister who has now been moved to an equalities post elsewhere in government.

It will be interesting to see if the uniting of the two portfolios leads to any reduction in the planning delays which house builders regard as the biggest obstacle to increasing the volume of new homes constructed.

Lewis only became an MP in 2010 but is a long-time political ally of Communities Secretary Eric Pickles, whose position remains unchanged in the reshuffle despite speculation that he may be sacked to make way for a younger successor.

In 2012 Lewis, a qualified barrister, was promoted to under-secretary of state with the DCLG, with responsibility for a range of issues including local government, fire services, high streets and pubs.

He will be the fourth housing minister in three years. Grant Shapps did the job for two years and four months, Mark Prisk for one year and one month, and Kris Hopkins for just 10 months.