Northern Powerhouse minister replaced

North West MPs figure prominently in the latest wave of reshuffling by Conservatives and Labour. Lancashire MP Jake Berry is the new Northern Powerhouse minister, after the incumbent Andrew Percy turned it down, and Andrew Gwynne, a critic of GMSF and Green Belt release, becomes shadow communities secretary.

Liverpool born and educated Jake Berry has been member for Rossendale and Darwen since 2010, when he was quickly appointed advisor to Grant Shapps, then housing minister, and has since held posts within No 10 and Treasury.

Kevin Whitmore, advisor to property companies on political engagement at Remarkable Group in Manchester, said: “Jake Berry’s appointment as Northern Powerhouse Minister could be a shrewd appointment for the Prime Minister. He brings plenty of private sector experience [he trained as a housing and development solicitor] with him to the role and previously served on the Number 10 Policy Board under David Cameron. I expect him to be a strong advocate for the Northern Powerhouse within Government with strong links across the Tory parliamentary party.”

On Wednesday, Andrew Percy was offered the task of continuing as Northern Powerhouse minister but turned it down without stating specific reasons. Berry was announced as his replacement last night.

Meanwhile, Labour’s Denton and Reddish MP, Andrew Gwynne, joins Jeremy Corbyn’s shadow cabinet in the communities and local government seat.

Whitmore added: “Greater Manchester now has six MPs in Labour’s shadow cabinet. Andrew Gwynne’s appointment as shadow secretary of state for DCLG alongside his role as the party’s election co-ordinator will be seen as reward for Labour’s strong performance in the general election. He has been very critical of the draft Greater Manchester Spatial Framework, especially the impact on the Green Belt in his constituency, and I expect him to support Andy Burnham’s commitment to a radical re-write.”

In Theresa May’s cabinet, Sajid Javid was this week reappointed to the position of Secretary of State for Communities & Local Government, having held it since July 2016.

Gavin Barwell, the highly regarded housing and planning minister who lost his seat at the election, was replaced by Reading West MP Alok Sharma. Barwell was handed a senior job as chief of staff in No 10.

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