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homeTuesday 18th September 2018

Fourth housing minister in three years appointed

Stuart Spear11/01/2018 - 14:36

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Dominic Raab described as a right wing liberal
Dominic Raab described as a right wing liberal

Theresa May’s attempt to get a grip of the political agenda with a reshuffle has resulted in the appointment of Dominic Raab MP as Westminster’s fourth housing minister in three years. 

Alok Sharma’s brief tenure in post ended with him being reshuffled to the Department of Work and Pensions. He, in turn, replaced Gavin Barwell following the 2017 election after he lost his seat.

Mr Raab, MP for Esther and Walton, joins the newly named Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government as minister of state for housing. In 2017 he left the back benches to become minister of state in the Ministry of Justice

An international lawyer and former member of the British karate squad he is described as a right-wing liberal with a special interest in civil liberties. In 2009 he authored The Assault of Liberty arguing that the ‘rights culture’ of recent years has infringed civil liberties.

Starting his career in an international City law firm he joined the Foreign Office in 2000 and spent three years leading a team of lawyers at the International Court of the Hague. In 2006 he became chief of staff for then shadow home secretary David Davis.

Known for challenging prevailing orthodoxies his maiden speech called for a review of the law permitting the removal of juries from certain trials and he has argued that men get a raw deal after years of legislation favouring women.

In a contentious article he argued that single women in their twenties earned more than men, who work longer hours, face flagrant discrimination over divorce and parental leave, retire later and die earlier.

He has called for an end to gender warfare and the end to sexist comments about men but managed to earn the rebuke of then home secretary and minister for women Theresa May when he remarked feminists were now ‘among the most obnoxious bigots’.

He campaigned successfully for a debate on extradition, saying the fast-track system delivered rough justice and needed to be rebalanced in favour of the citizen. Serving for three years on the Joint Committee on Human Rights in 2011 he published a pamphlet Strasbourg in the Dock attacking the record of the court.

He presented a Ten-Minute-Rule Bill to require emergency services and transport trade unions to get the support of 50 per cent of members in a ballot before strike action and called for a ban on union activity subsidised by taxpayers in government departments.

Mr Raab has argued that high taxes and a generous welfare system fuelled laziness, saying the British were ‘among the worst idlers in the world’.

He also argued that raising the minimum wage or exempting those on the minimum wage from income tax would do little to help the poor, saying a better plan would be to raise the threshold on national Insurance contributions and cutting VAT to 17 per cent.

He initiated a back bench debate on flood insurance, calling on the government and insurance industry to come to a new agreement to cover high-risk properties and improve flood defences.

Born in 1974 and the son of a Jewish refugee who fled Czechoslovakia before the Second World War, Mr Raab has called for work restrictions on immigrants from Romania and Bulgaria.

Along with former Labour home secretary David Blunkett he tabled an amendment to the Crime and Court Bill to make it easier to deport foreign criminals by removing the defence of a human right to family life. A move that earned considerable support but the opposition of Theresa May.

Mr Raab is a declared supporter of Brexit arguing Britain's economic competitiveness and democratic accountability would be best served in the longer term outside of the EU.

He backed Michael Gove as next leader of the Conservative party in the 2016 leadership contest. 

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