Planning Process: Probity

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 10:34 am on 11th June 2020.

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Photo of Alan Brown Alan Brown Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Energy and Climate Change) 10:34 am, 11th June 2020

This is like the Dominic Cummings affair and we have a Minister defending the indefensible. When the Secretary of State personally approves a planning application a day before the deadline, which saves the developer £40 million of fees in infrastructure payments, it raises serious questions. When it transpires that the developer then donates to the Tory party, to the public this matter simply stinks. Worse, the Secretary of State’s actions overruled the planning decision of the local council and it was against his own Planning Inspectorate advice. Why did he think he knew better? Why do the Minister and the Secretary of State not think it would be better to have more affordable homes funded? Surely they must agree that a multi-millionaire funding a £1 billion development helps fund future infrastructure for the greater good. Why was the Secretary of State content with his decision until legal action was raised by Tower Hamlets Council? Why do the Government think it is acceptable for the Secretary of State to remain in place after an unlawful decision, which he admits shows apparent bias? This is a party whose former Prime Minister and current Prime Minister once auctioned off a tennis match with themselves for £160,000. Does the Minister understand what these fundraising events look like to the public when other decisions then get made that seem to favour those who attend the events? For a Tory Government, it is one rule for them and one rule for another. Fortunately for us in Scotland, many people in Scotland now see independence as a better option, because nothing the Minister can say gives confidence in this place.