Westferry Printworks Development

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:40 pm on 24th June 2020.

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Photo of Robert Jenrick Robert Jenrick The Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government 1:40 pm, 24th June 2020

I will give way in a moment to the hon. Gentleman, but he could let me even begin my remarks, if he is truly interested in what I have to say. I will write to the Chair of the Select Committee outlining the timeline of events and the rationale for my decision making pertaining to the Westferry Printworks planning decision. Alongside this letter, and after a comprehensive review of what documents might be in scope of this motion and of the letter he sent me on behalf of his Select Committee, I will be releasing, later today, all relevant information relating to this planning matter, using the Freedom of Information Act as a benchmark. I recognise that there are higher standards of transparency expected in the quasi-judicial planning process, which is why I will also release discussions and correspondence that the Government would not normally release.

These documents show that, contrary to the wild accusations and baseless innuendo propagated by Steve Reed and restated today in a series of totally inaccurate statements and comments, this decision was taken with an open mind, on the merits of the case, after a thorough decision-making process. It was rooted in my long-standing and well documented view that we have a generational challenge as a country, which we need to meet and not shirk, to build more houses in all parts of this country and that whoever holds this office, whether it is me, another Member from my party or the hon. Gentleman, must make those tough decisions in order to build the homes that this country needs and to build a better future for the next generation.