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Mark Leftly: Builders, recruit an MP who understands housing crises

  • @MLeftly

Westminster Outlook Pre-coalition, Sarah Teather was the go-to Liberal Democrat for current affairs journalists.

Once the youngest parliamentarian in Britain and even now only 40, the Brent Central MP is as fed up with party politics as anyone who has ever set foot in the House of Commons.

The former children's minister won't contest next year's election, disillusioned by the LibDems' increasingly tough approach to immigration and welfare caps in coalition.

Instead, she might get back into charity work, having been a health and social policy analyst at Macmillan Cancer Relief in her 20s.

A role Ms Teather did enjoy in Parliament was shadow housing minister from 2008 to 2010. She wanted to use empty council estates for "short-life housing to help a young person on low wages get a temporary helping hand".

The Cambridge graduate would almost certainly consider a chief executive or another senior role at a small housing charity.

Earnest and honest, Ms Teather is an obvious fit and would doubtless do well. But I would rather her opinions were brought to the boardroom of a top housebuilder. Ms Teather understands the impact of housing crises on people's lives, which isn't obviously the case among developers as another price bubble threatens to burst. Her appointment would also redress a startling gender imbalance that sees just nine women among the 48 board directors at the big five of Barratt, Taylor Wimpey, Persimmon, Berkeley and Bellway.

She would take some convincing, but Ms Teather would be a strong addition to any of those boards.