Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Duchy of Lancaster – in the House of Commons at 1:40 pm on 4 February 1998.

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Photo of Tony Blair Tony Blair Prime Minister 1:40, 4 February 1998

It is certainly better than 42 per cent., which was achieved by the Conservative Government. The purpose of the consultation paper is precisely to ensure that we receive the various representations. We will then, in the statement that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions will make, declare our position for the future.

We have always made it clear that we will protect the green belt. In fact, there has been an increase in the amount of green-belt land since 1 May, so we do not need any lessons from the Conservative Opposition about the protection of the green belt. Indeed, it was the first Labour Government after the war who introduced the Town and Country Planning Act 1947 which provided the first such protection, and it will be the new Labour Government who in this area, as in so many others, will clean up the mess left by the Conservatives.