Hopkins replaced Brandon Lewis last week, after Lewis was promoted to Minister of State for Housing and Planning.
Hopkins, who entered Parliament in 2010 as the member for Keighley and Ilkley in Yorkshire, moves in the opposite direction — leaving his former housing brief. He said he greatly welcomed “the opportunity to work with brewers, landlords and patrons to support community pubs”.
One of his first tasks will be to get up to speed on the debate over pubco reform — in which Fair Pint campaigner Simon Clarke has been a vocal critic of the Government.
Clarke said he would be seeking a meeting with Hopkins and would “particularly like to know his views on planning restraints to protect pubs from change of use”.
He added: “I’d like to hear he is willing to debate issues with an open mind and he will meet with all sides before drawing his conclusions.”
On the departing pubs minister, he said: “Sadly, I think Brandon was overly influenced by the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA), which appeared to rather dictate his opinions.”
BBPA chief executive Brigid Simmonds described Lewis as a “hugely successful pubs minister”. She added: “His business background gave him a clear understanding of our issues, from business rates to licensing, which made a big difference. He completely understood pubs are vital to the economy, and one of our key tourism and leisure attractions. Kris Hopkins has been a great supporter of beer and pubs in Keighley and across Yorkshire and I am sure he will champion pubs nationally.”
Jonathan Mail, head of public affairs at the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), said: “The Community Pubs Minister plays a valuable role in championing pubs across Government so we are delighted the Prime Minister has retained the role. We look forward to working with the minister.”
Tim Hulme, chief executive of the British Institute of Innkeeping, said: “I’m confident the trade will offer Kris a warm welcome.
“I hope his first task will be to court opinion from the industry, and listen to the challenges the trade faces, before working alongside us to make this industry the very best it can be."