A statement from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) revealed "a slight change to ministerial portfolios within BEIS with Kelly Tolhurst, Minister for Small Business, Consumers and Corporate Responsibility assuming responsibility for the pubs code and pubs code adjudicator, from Richard Harrington."
Former property developer and hotelier Harrington, who has been the MP for Watford since 2010, replaced MP Margot James in January 2018, holding the position for less than a year.
Tolhurst has been the member of parliament for the Rochester and Strood constituency in Kent since her election in May 2015 – having previously contested the seat in November 2014.
She was an assistant whip to the treasury between January and July 2018 before being appointed parliamentary under-secretary at the BEIS.
A BEIS spokesperson said: “Kelly Tolhurst already has ministerial responsibility for the groceries code and this change brings both codes back together under the same portfolio.”
.@KellyTolhurst has taken on responsibility for the Pubs Code and Pubs Code Adjudicator as part of her ministerial role, overseeing the relationship between large pub companies in England and Wales and their tenants. https://t.co/M8G2RiV55Opic.twitter.com/Kh0HORouYl— Dept for BEIS (@beisgovuk) November 5, 2018
Commenting on the appointment, the Campaign for Real Ale's (CAMRA) chief campaigns and communications officer Tom Stainer said: "The Campaign for Real Ale welcomes the announcement that responsibility for the pubs code has passed to Kelly Tolhurst MP, and would like to thank Richard Harrington for the work he's carried out during his time in the role.
"CAMRA is confident Tolhurst will listen to the views of our members in calling for a public consultation into reviewing the pubs code to ensure that it is fit for purpose and helping to re-balance the relationship between pub-owning companies and their tenants – and offering a true market-rent-only (MRO) option."
.@KellyTolhurst Congratulations on taking on responsibility for the Pubs Code. We’re confident you’ll be able to ensure it delivers a fair deal to pub tenants, and will be listening to our members’ call for a public consultation into reviewing it— CAMRA (@CAMRA_Official) November 6, 2018
A spokesperson from UKHospitality said: “Congratulations to the minister on her new brief.
“We look forward to working closely with her and other stakeholders regarding the PCA and pubs code, to ensure the system is as fair, agile and transparent as possible.”
British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) chief executive Brigid Simmonds added: “Congratulations to Kelly Tolhurst MP who will be taking responsibility for the pubs code.
“Kelly has shown a strong interest in the pub sector since entering parliament and has been an active member of the Beer Group. We look forward to working with her in the future.
“We’d also like to thank Richard Harrington for his work during his time in the role.”