By Harry Scoffin
In a welcome change of heart, former housing minister Heather Wheeler last week joined the All-Party Parliamentary Group on leasehold and commonhold reform.
The MP is the latest in a string of Conservative politicians to add their name to the parliamentary group committed to protecting consumers with landlord-controlled leaseholds, and which campaigns for commonhold, a form of freehold ownership, to become the accepted tenure for new-build flats in England and Wales.
The MP for South Derbyshire follows new Conservative signings Dr Matthew Offord MP, a former flat lessee who has railed in the Commons against “morally corrupt” freeholders and managing agents, and Neil O’Brien MP, the Huddersfield-born Tory rising star pushing for an end to “fleecehold” estate management wheezes.
Ms Wheeler was the minister for housing and homelessness between January 2018 and July 2019.
She served under both Sajid Javid and James Brokenshire, and was promoted by Boris Johnson to be the minister for Asia and the Pacific in his first administration.
Leaseholders were critical of Ms Wheeler when she was interviewed about the ground rent / mis-selling scandal by the Communities Select Committee in February 2019.
Ms Wheeler’s decision to join the APPG comes after she tweeted strong support for the Competition and Markets Authority intervention over leasehold mis-selling: