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Ex-housing minister Barwell appointed PM’s chief of staff

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  • 09/06/2017
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Ex-housing minister Barwell appointed PM’s chief of staff
Former housing minister Gavin Barwell has been appointed Downing Street chief of staff supporting prime minister Theresa May as she rebuilds her minority government.

The previous joint chiefs of staff Nick Timothy and Fiona Hill both resigned over the weekend in an apparent acknowledgement of the failure of the election strategy.

Barwell lost his Parliamentary seat as Theresa May’s General Election gamble backfired.

Barwell, who wrote a book entitled “How to win a marginal seat”, lost his 165 vote majority in Croydon Central to Labour’s Sarah Jones.

Jones gained a 5,652 majority, collecting 29,873 votes compared to Barwell’s 24,221.

Barwell was one of eight Conservative government ministers to be defeated on a night which saw the Tories lose their overall majority resulting in a hung Parliament.

 

Hung Parliament

Berenberg Bank suggested earlier in the week that a hung Parliament would be the best result for the economy because it lessened the chance of the hard Brexit a Tory majority could have secured.

However, May’s party remained the largest and appears likely to seek a coalition of sorts with the Democratic Unionist Party which won 10 seats in northern Ireland.

Labour gained 29 seats compared to the 2015 election and Jeremy Corbyn called on May to resign following the failure of her gamble to extend her majority.

Phoebus Software sales and marketing director Richard Pike noted that it could take some time to produce a functioning government.

“Unfortunately, until a new government has bedded in, many areas that we as an industry wanted to see action on such as housing policy, may well take a back seat,” he said.

 

Hopelessness

North London estate agent and former Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors residential chairman Jeremy Leaf added that a hung parliament will result in an extended period of uncertainty with decision-making kicked into the long grass.

“The hopelessness we are seeing on the ground about not being able to get on the housing ladder has come through,” he said.

“If there is one message that has come out of this election, it is that the young have voted overwhelmingly for change.

“Politicians will have to consider the needs of the young more than they have in the past which could mean more help for first-time buyers, perhaps extending Help to Buy so that it covers older properties as well as new build, dealing with affordability issues and more help on stamp duty.

“One thing all the parties agree on is that we need more housing so it has to be a priority for whichever formal or informal coalition is created,” Leaf added.

 

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