‘Raw Deal’ Reynolds - Labour housing minister quits

Emma Reynolds / @EmmaReynoldsMP

Emma Reynolds / @EmmaReynoldsMP - Credit: Archant

Emma Reynolds, known for her rent control ‘U-turn’ during the Milliband campaign, has retired to the back-bench following the announcement of new Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Emma Reynolds - shadow communities secretary and housing spokesperson for the Labour party - has quit following the appointment of Jeremy Corbyn as the party’s new leader.

According to her tweet at the weekend, she will still “serve from back-benches” going forward. Her resignation tweet came moments after the new leader was announced.

Reynolds was best known during the Ed Milliband campaign for her involvement in the party’s proposal for three year tenancies for renters. Despite telling the Association of Residential Letting Agents in March that Labour did not support rent control, a month later Milliband announced that “a Labour government will take action immediately to make life better for all those renting their home” - a proposal that Reynolds backed.

The Labour manifesto set out proposals for limited rent rises and for the banning of rip-off letting agent fees. The party claimed that their strategy would save the average renter £624 over a five year time frame. Marketed to attract the support of “Generation Rent” Milliband aimed to give tenants greater protection against rogue landlords and make renting more affordable.

Housing was a major focal point for the opposing parties in the run-up to May’s general election, with Labour declaring that renters in the UK were being “ignored and let down by this government.”

Labour’s shift in their opinion toward rent capping was considered to be a major U-turn at the time, given that Reynolds had commented repeatedly to the press and via Twitter that her party was not interested in rent control. But in April, she said that “a Labour Government will...put a ceiling on rent rises...ban letting agent fees on tenants, drive up standards and tackle poor energy efficiency,” declaring that tenants were getting “a raw deal” under the Coalition government and essentially contradicting herself.

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At the time, Minister for Housing and Planning Brandon Lewis said that Labour’s proposals demonstrated that the party was “in chaos”. “Rent controls never work – they destroy investment in housing leading to fewer homes to rent and poorer quality accommodation,” he said.

Labour lost, Milliband quit, and now Reynolds has followed suit. She later tweeted this weekend that she intends to “continue to hold Tory government to account for their failure on housing” and that she “will continue work on housing and homelessness”.