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Labour appoints new shadow housing minister

Labour appoints new shadow housing minister

Ms Powell, former shadow business and consumer affairs minister, was appointed on Sunday and will replace Thangam Debbonaire, who takes up a new position as shadow leader of the house.

The reshuffle comes after a poor set of results for Labour in the English local elections, including losing Hartlepool to the Conservatives for the first time in more than 60 years.

Ms Powell, who is MP for Manchester Central, said on Twitter: “Really pleased to become shadow housing secretary – some really big issues to tackle from cladding, housing crisis, private rented sector, homelessness and providing decent housing for all, to name a few.”

The MP, who was first elected in 2012, has been a vocal campaigner on the building safety crisis, raising the issue several times in parliament in recent months.

Her constituency has the second-highest number of applications to the government’s Building Safety Fund, with the city being badly affected by the crisis.

In February 2020 Ms Powell took part in a protest outside parliament calling on the government to end the cladding scandal.

According to parliament’s register of financial interests, Ms Powell is a private landlord and has rented a room in her London flat since 2015, and has a rental income of more than £10,000 a year.

She is also a shareholder and unpaid director of New Road Management, which owns the freehold of six flats in London, in one of which she lives.Ms Powell takes over from Ms Debbonaire, who spent just over a year in the role having been picked to replace John Healey when he vacated the brief after several years.

The MP has previously voted against charging market rent to high earners living in council homes and has also voted against phasing out secure-for-life tenancies.

Ms Powell, 46, has previously served as shadow education secretary, shadow minister for the cabinet office and as a shadow minister for education. She has also served on the education select committee and the transport select committee.

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