Goodbye “Chubby Robbie” Jenrick, hello Michael Gove, destroyer of planets and local education authorities.
Housing has rarely been fashionable in SW1 and has rarely rated a Cabinet Minister. Few national journalists ever master the subject beyond “how’s the price of my house doing?”
So why would Gove, the great iconoclast, want this job now?
Clearly, because a General Election is in the offing and Boris wants his government to be on the front foot. Almost certainly, it’s the Planning Bill that is in his focus.
Naturally, two key groups matter – those who vote for the Tories and those who pay for them, such as the Telegraph’s readers and property developers.
So, plenty of reassurance for everyone living in a pretty (i.e. expensive) town or village that they won’t have the wrong kind of neighbours forced on them. Instant mini-conservation areas all over the Home Counties might do the job.
But what about the aspirational voters in the “red wall” constituencies, what might be the bait for them?
It might take all Michael Gove’s ability to spin a tale to convince not just the newspaper columnists but the public, too.