Westferry Printworks Development

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 2:48 pm on 24th June 2020.

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Photo of Simon Jupp Simon Jupp Conservative, East Devon 2:48 pm, 24th June 2020

I am not going to give way.

Ministers involved in the planning process take advice from officials with full disclosure. The insistence from Opposition Members that a ministerial decision was taken after a circumstantial meeting is without basis and totally absurd. Above all, is not today’s debate a missed opportunity for the Opposition to discuss policy, not politics, and delivery in the housing system—something they failed to do time and time again? Should not the planning system be reformed to ensure that planned development for new homes, such as in Tower Hamlets, is encouraged rather than discouraged and not fudged around like it is by Opposition Members? Should we not modernise the planning system to make it easier for councils and developers to deliver more of the homes we need?

I am acutely aware that the Opposition have tried to hold this debate in a narrow political vacuum, but they would be wise to consider their own record when in power—although it was quite a while ago—and the real concerns of the country at large. The country expects us in this House to debate how to tackle the greatest economic and fiscal challenges of our lifetime, including how we are getting the economy going again, how we are safely relaxing restrictions and how we are protecting lives and livelihoods. Yet here the Opposition are trying to weaponise planning decisions to score petty political points—nul points.