John Healey’s comment about repossession being “the best option” for some defaulting home owners may be the result of him realising how uncertain his tenure is as housing minister.
He is the ninth since Tony Blair entered Downing Street (the 10th if you include John Prescott overseeing planning and housing when deputy prime minister) and the fifth since Gordon Brown became PM.
This is the list. Assessment of ability is subjective but I think it striking that the earlier ministers were relatively prominent figures, while more recent ones are much less influential or 'veteran':
Hilary Armstrong (97-99)
Nick Raynsford (99-01)
Lord Falconer (01-02)
Lord Rooker (02-03)
Keith Hill (03-05)
Yvette Cooper (05-08)
Caroline Flint (08-08)
Margaret Beckett (08-09)
John Healey (09-10)
This is not party political. Who knows what the Tories would have done? Or will do if they win this spring’s election? But such a high turnover shows that the current government does not think much of the housing issue.
Being housing minister is clearly not a good thing for an ambitious politician. Or, as John Healey might put it, it's hardly “the best option”.
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