A rough guide to John Healey, the new shadow housing minister

Jeremy Corbyn has appointed the former housing minister to his shadow cabinet. Here’s what you need to know about him

Name: John Healey

Job: Shadow minister for housing

He keeps a hard hat in his Westminster office

The white hat, emblazoned with the red Labour logo “A future fair for all”, is a souvenir Healey kept from his visits to construction sites during his time as housing minister under Gordon Brown from June 2009 to May 2010.

He’s a former local government minister

Before taking on the housing brief, Healey, the MP for Wentworth and Dearne, served for two years as minister for local government, from 2007 until 2009, and was replaced by Rosie Winterton, the current chief whip. He has also previously held roles in the Treasury, as financial secretary from 2005 to 2007 and economic secretary from 2002 to 2005.

John Healey, outside No 11 before the March 2007 budget
From left: John Healey, Stephen Timms, Gordon Brown, Ed Balls and Dawn Primarolo outside No 11 before the March 2007 budget. Photograph: Martin Argles/The Guardian

He has a pre-parliament history of campaigning

After a brief stint as a journalist in his 20s, Healey became a full-time disability rights campaigner for a number of charities, before becoming campaign director for the Trades Union Congress in 1994. He is a member of Amnesty International.

Housing policy is his hobby, not just his job

Despite moving from shadow housing minister to the shadow health brief under Ed Miliband, he remained interested in housing. Healey was instrumental in starting the Social Housing Under Threat (Shout) campaign to lobby for and defend social housing. He’s also a familiar face at housing events, conferences and demonstrations around the country.

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