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Keighley politician promoted to junior minister, while Bradford councillor hopes to become Keighley MP
Kris Hopkins has been handed a key housing job in David Cameron’s reshuffle – as part of attempts to give the Government a stronger Northern voice.
The Keighley MP was promoted to become a junior minister at the department for communities and local government (DCLG), after little more than three years as an MP.
Mr Hopkins’ exact job description was still being worked out last night, but he is expected to take on responsibility for tackling what many call Britain’s housing crisis.
The rate of housebuilding has continued to slide under the Coalition Government, falling far short of the number needed to cope with an expanding population.
And there is controversy over the Government’s ‘Help to Buy’ scheme, with claims it will trigger another property price bubble, without increasing the number of homes.
The National Housing Federation has warned of an affordable homes crisis in Bradford, where the average house price is £142,000 - but average annual earnings are just £18,500.
Mr Hopkins’ promotion means he will work under Communities Secretary Eric Pickles, bringing together two former Bradford Council leaders in the same department.
He said: “I was very humbled when the Prime Minister asked me to take on this role and now look forward to the challenges ahead.
“As a former Leader of Bradford Council and someone who cut his political teeth in local government, I have a huge regard for the work elected representatives and officers at all levels do on behalf of the communities they serve.
“I now look forward to working closely with them and other colleagues in the weeks and months ahead.” A Downing Street spokesman insisted all appointments had been made on the basis of “giving jobs to people who can do the job well” – rather than on the basis of “camps”.
Mr Hopkins has impressed leading Conservatives by arguing for Mr Cameron’s ‘modernising’ project to continue, reaching out to crucial floating voters.
He is also fiercely loyal to the prime minister, once reportedly branding colleagues plotting to succeed the prime minister “self indulgent buffoons”.
The promotion came as all three major party leaders reshuffled their frontbench teams, with the general election 19 months away.
On the Labour side, Ed Miliband faced taunts after demoting three Blairite Shadow Cabinet members – Liam Byrne, Jim Murphy and Stephen Twigg – whose removal was demanded by Unite boss Len McCluskey.
And there was astonishment that Norman Baker, a Lib Dem who wrote a book claiming the Iraq War scientist David Kelly was murdered, was handed a Home Office brief.
- The man in charge of children’s services at Bradford Council has announced that he hopes to unseat Keighley MP Kris Hopkins at the next general election.
Councillor Ralph Berry has launched his campaign to become Labour candidate in 2015, claiming the constituency was one the party had to win if it were to regain power nationally.
Coun Berry has sat on Bradford Council since 1991, and is currently the executive member in charge of children and young people’s services as well as representing Wibsey.
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