Tory rebellion over new planning laws: Eighty MPs are set to oppose Government’s house-building spree in party heartlands
- Boris Johnson has vowed to build 300,000 homes a year by 2025 in Planning Bill
- But the plan has put the PM on a collision course with many of his backbenchers
- Two Conservative MPs have openly said they are prepared to vote against it
More than 80 Tory MPs could rebel over planning reforms that some have dubbed a ‘developers’ charter’ that would hit the party’s ‘Blue Wall’ shire constituencies.
The Planning Bill was announced in the Queen’s Speech earlier this month. Boris Johnson has vowed to build 300,000 homes a year by 2025.
But the plan has put the PM on a collision course with many of his backbenchers. And countryside campaigners have warned that the reforms – the biggest shake-up of the system for 70 years – would mean ‘open season for developers’ in rural areas.
The Planning Bill was announced in the Queen’s Speech earlier this month. Boris Johnson has vowed to build 300,000 homes a year by 2025
Theresa Villiers, MP for Chipping Barnet on London’s border with Hertfordshire, told the BBC she could defy the whip
At least 80 Tories are members of a WhatsApp group that previously united to defeat the Government’s botched plans for an algorithm to decide how many homes should be built in each area. One said yesterday the group had ‘woken up’ again over the new proposals. The number is far more than would be needed to defeat the plans.
Two Tories openly said they were prepared to vote against it yesterday.
Theresa Villiers, MP for Chipping Barnet on London’s border with Hertfordshire, told the BBC: ‘Potentially, I am prepared to defy the whip if I thought what was being brought forward was going to be damaging to the quality of life or the environment of my constituency.’ Asked if he would also be prepared to defy the whip, fellow London MP Bob Blackman said: ‘Very much so.’
Meanwhile, former cabinet minister Damian Green said: ‘If you want to spread wealth and prosperity you need to spread housing too.’
The MP for Ashford in Kent – the county known as ‘the Garden of England’ – added: ‘Everything I hear makes me worry that the Government is not going to do that. There will be more building in traditional Tory areas, without providing opportunities and jobs in the Red Wall.’
Roger Gale, Tory MP for North Thanet in Kent, said: ‘I’m not prepared to see the Garden of England turned into a building site.
‘As far as I’m concerned, this is a developers’ charter… I think Boris needs to be looking at the Blue Wall because he may find it crumbles.’
A Housing Ministry spokesman said: ‘We are enabling the delivery of new homes the country needs, taking decisive action to ensure our communities have beautiful places to live in that reflect the character of the area.’
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