New housing minister Dominic Raab has accused a respected property industry title of “fake news” just hours after he attacked another journalist’s article questioning his absence from a key ministerial meeting on housing as “tripe”.
Raab took to Twitter yesterday morning to claim Inside Housing was “peddling fake news” for asking why he wasn’t at a meeting of the Housing Implementation Taskforce chaired by Prime Minister Theresa May on Monday.
Disappointing to see the respected @insidehousing peddling fake news, asking why I wasn’t at Housing Taskforce – yet reporting on the Commons Urgent Question on fire safety, which clashed and required me to respond in Parliament. https://t.co/y0YrFF8KiI
— Dominic Raab (@DominicRaab) February 7, 2018
It came a day after he attacked another property journalist for posing the same question.
Nigel Lewis, who writes for trade publication The Negotiator and is a former property editor of the Daily Mail, wrote a column speculating on the reason for Raab’s apparent absence.
A press release from the Government itself named ministers who had attended, but the list did not include Raab.
Those in attendance included Housing Secretary of State Sajid Javid, Chancellor Phillip Hammond, Damian Hinds from Education, Michael Gove from Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Chris Grayling from Transport, and Tobias Ellwood from Defence.
Lewis said the “oddly conspicuous” name left off the list was Raab’s.
Lewis said: “Since being appointed in early January [he] appears to be spending more time fighting Amber Rudd over Brexit than tackling his brief.”
That prompted a Donald Trump-style response from Raab, who said: “Surprised to see Nigel Lewis @TheNeg peddling this tripe. If he’d done his homework, he’d know I took the Urgent Question in the Commons on BRE testing and Celotex. #lazyjournalism”
Surprised to see Nigel Lewis @TheNeg peddling this tripe. If he’d done his homework, he’d know I took the Urgent Question in the Commons on BRE testing and Celotex. #lazyjournalism https://t.co/z0iBQtiD8A
— Dominic Raab (@DominicRaab) February 6, 2018
The Negotiator replied: “A rather sharp response to a fair point, I’d say Mr Raab.
“The property industry is very keen to see a good housing minister doing his best for housing, so naturally we’d expect the minister to be at the first meeting of the housing taskforce.”
Lewis received the backing of buying agent Henry Pryor, who referred to the Government press release which did not mention why Raab wasn’t there.
Pryor said: “Go easy D, you’ll find you need all the friends you can get when doing your current job.”
Speaking to EYE, Lewis said: “The normal response [from ministers] is to ignore media commentary so it is rather odd that he has decided to pile in.
“To be fair to him, he has been on a tour of Britain talking to people more on the social housing side of things so I know he has been busy.
“But if he was that interested in it then I am sure other ministers could have done the urgent question.”
He later replied to Raab on Twitter:
If you think its tripe that’s fine but the fact remains you weren’t at the first meeting of the most important housing task force this country has so far ever gathered. Bit odd, most people in the industry think.
— Nigel Lewis (@property_whore) February 6, 2018
Raab, who is the seventh housing minister appointed by the Conservatives since 2010, was installed in his post last month following a ministerial reshuffle.