Local government minister Simon Clarke has announced he is standing down.
In a letter to the Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Mr Clarke said he was leaving the Government for 'purely personal reasons’ and that it had been a ‘privilege’ to serve as minister for regional growth and local government.
Mr Clarke was appointed to the role by Mr Johnson in February, making the move to the Ministry of Housing ,Communities and Local Government from the Treasury, where he served as exchequer secretary.
He has in recent months been heavily involved in discussions with local authorities pursuing reorganisation plans ahead of the Government’s local recovery and devolution White Paper this autumn.
Luke Hall has been appointed regional growth and local government minister following Mr Clarke's departure, while Kelly Tolhurst been brought in from the Department for Transport to take on Mr Hall's previous portfolios for rough sleeping and housing.
Mr Clarke will continue as MP for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland, the seat he has held since the 2017 General Election.
County Councils Network chairman Cllr David Williams said: ‘Simon Clarke has been a supportive figure for local government during Coronavirus, engaging with and acting on our concerns and building a strong rapport with county leaders. We wish him well.
‘I welcome Luke Hall’s appointment having built up a relationship with him during his time in the department and county leaders hope he continues on his predecessor’s reforming zeal in what we hope will be a radical period of overdue change for local government.'