Margaret Beckett will be named as the third UK housing minister in less than a year as part of Gordon Brown’s cabinet reshuffle.

Beckett, MP for Derby South, will be announced as the new housing minister later today.

She was deputy leader of the Labour Party from 1992 to 1994 and was briefly its leader in 1994 following the premature death of John Smith.

In Tony Blair's government, she held a series of cabinet offices, including secretary of state for environment, food and rural affairs and foreign secretary.

BPF chief executive Liz Peace said: ‘We despair at the turbulence of having such a turnover of ministers.

Caroline Flint demonstrated a firm understanding of housing and planning policy but after just nine months and at a time when we need stability, we have a new minister.

‘We also have another new department dabbling in the environmental brief. As well as Defra, BERR, CLG and the Committee on Climate Change, we now have the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC). Let’s hope nobody confuses it with display energy certificates (DECs) which came into force this week.

‘However, Margaret Beckett’s experience will be vital in helping reshape the fortunes of the housing market. The British Property Federation looks forward to working with her at this most crucial of times and to discussing how the professional rented sector can make a serious contribution to dealing with the housing needs of the current generation.’