New construction minister announced

The government has announced the appointment of Lord Prior as the new construction minister to replace Jesse Norman, who moves on after less than six months in the role to become energy minister.

Lord Prior, a former Lehman Brothers associate, will have a wide-ranging brief that will include infrastructure and construction policy, alongside industrial strategy and the EU single market. He was previously a junior health minister and was shuffled into the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy just before Christmas.

Prior was MP for North Norfolk between 1997 and 2001, and has held a number of jobs outside of politics, including a senior executive role at British Steel. He began his career in merchant banking before moving into the steel industry. He was given a seat in the House of Lords in 2015 and made a health minister. Aged 62, he is the son of the former Cabinet minister Jim Prior, who died last month. His specific responsibilities will include infrastructure, construction, professional services, the rail supply chain, and the defence and maritime sectors. 

Industry figures have reacted positively to Lord Prior’s appointment. Brian Berry, chief executive of the FMB, said: “We welcome the appointment of Lord Prior, whose combination of political and professional experience should leave him well placed to forge the strong, collaborative relationship that is needed between industry and government. We look forward to working with the new minister and ensuring that he understands fully the perspective of the small and micro construction firms which make up the vast bulk of our industry.”

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